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Steven Safren

Steve Safren recounts his work on “Life Steps,” which promotes adherence to taking HIV medicine. In 1996, medicines were becoming available that changed HIV from a death sentence to something manageable, but the drugs were difficult to take, had huge side effects, and had complex dosages. Life Steps helped people break those complex dosages into manageable steps. He notes that this adherence intervention has since been adapted to other areas, include comorbid depression and other mental health problems. And, he says, it’s become the standard of care for Doctors without Borders in their fights against HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

He thinks that what science shows isn’t always practiced. He notes how, when confronted with severe mental health problems, instead of sequencing various solutions, such as medicines and cognitive-behavioral therapy, which science shows is the most effective approach, practitioners might just throw everything at it at once. He is also looking forward to seeing more studies comparing new technologies to in person treatment, to see which has more success for which clients; and hoping to involve CBT in the medical system more effectively.




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