School of Public Health and Community Medicine

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Research Interests

If national HIV prevention strategies are to succeed, countries must understand the character and drivers of their epidemics and focus on proven, effective interventions. However, there is often a mismatch between HIV prevention efforts and the factors driving new infections. This risks resources being invested in programs of limited effect that do not reach those most at risk.

Working closely with national institutions and leaders, the International HIV Research group conducts rigorous social and economic research which provides the essential strategic information national programs need to design cost effective and high impact interventions, and to develop appropriate policy responses.

Main research interests

  • The team has designed and managed research, and published widely in the thematic areas essential to understanding and reversing the epidemics of Asia and the Pacific:  sex work, injecting drug use, men who have sex with men, youth, community responses to HIV, mental health; peer education, STI control, counselling and testing and ART.
  • Risk and prevention: Hidden MSM, Male Clients/ High Risk Males, Spousal transmission of HIV, IDU
  • Cultural and social dynamics: Prevention and social and cultural factors; Role of FBOs; Behavioural surveys
  • Interactions between people and the medical profession: Structural aspects (counselling and testing provided at district / FGP level / CBO based, Performance of Social Marketing, PMTCT; Exploring health seeking behavior in relation to HIV/AIDS; Competency of health service providers; VCT;  ART
  • Social and economic impact:  Cost of prevention packages for specific high-risk groups; Cost-effectiveness of (different) Models of offering (voluntary) HIV testing; HIV and labour migration
  • Use of accurate information to inform regulatory and legislative bodies and the national and international media (advocacy)

Research projects

Our projects demonstrate that social science evidence can be used in every part of a country’s response to HIV.  IHRG work has provided:

  • Baseline behavioural data before setting up HIV prevention programs
  • Long-term behavioural monitoring of progress
  • In-depth social data to enhance understandings of why people are at risk
  • Evidence of stigma and discrimination
  • Assessment of the social impacts of the roll-out of new treatment and support programs
  • Social assessments of policies and laws related to HIV.

With the institutional support of the University of New South Wales, the International HIV Research Group is committed to:  scientific and research excellence;  capacity development of our partners; effective project design and management, and rigorous financial accountability.