GCU highlights National HIV Testing Week with research and podcasts

21 November 2014

GCU highlights National HIV Testing Week with research and podcasts

GCU has expertise in HIV testing research

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers have launched a series of podcasts for the UK’s first comprehensive network for sexual health researchers.

This year’s National HIV Testing Week takes place this week (November 22 -29), in the run up to World AIDS Day on December 1.

To highlight this issue, GCU’s latest podcast will feature Professor Paul Flowers, accompanied by guests, discussing HIV testing in the UK.  The podcast will feature on the Sexual Health Research Network, which aims to provide an opportunity around which interested researchers across the UK can gain critical mass in response to disease prevention, behavioural change, methodological innovation and policy developments.

GCU researchers have significant expertise in HIV testing issues and are leading a new £127,000 project funded by the National Institute for Health Research – Health Technology Assessment, into the clinical effectiveness of behaviour change interventions to reduce risky sexual behaviour after a negative HIV test in men who have sex with men (MSM).

Receiving a negative HIV test result offers an opportunity for a timely and meaningful intervention to help men reduce sexual risk taking.

This study aims to establish the clinical effectiveness of behaviour change interventions to reduce risky sexual behaviour after a negative HIV test in MSM; how interventions work, for whom, why, and in which contexts and settings in relation to a variety of outcomes (e.g. condom use, HIV knowledge, HIV incidence); and provide clear direction of how interventions can be delivered.

GCU is also a partner in an NIHR study investigating the feasibility and acceptability of home sampling kits to increase the uptake of HIV testing among black Africans in the United Kingdom. The £410,000 Haus Study is led by University College London and has study sites in both London and Glasgow, each has a high prevalence of HIV in the African population, but they have distinct health care systems, differ in the proportion of Africans within their population, and in the provision of HIV and community services.

Led by Dr Karen Lorimer, GCU’s Institute for Applied Health Research's Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses research brings together a range of social science expertise, including from psychology, sociology, nursing and social anthropology, to examine a range of issues relating to sexual health and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

GCU research into HIV testing has led to impacts on health policy (WHO and NICE guidelines) and services relating to HIV testing amongst vulnerable populations across Europe, and particularly, Scotland. The policies related to the frequency of HIV testing, increases in sites available for testing, and the scope of interventions to promote testing. 

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