Social science will remain critical to HIV prevention
While many experts have high expectations of biomedical answers to the HIV epidemic, social science contributions will remain critical to re-invigorating HIV prevention.
In his recent 'So, what?' lecture at UNSW, Prof John de Wit offered novel directions for understanding the complexity of sexual risk taking. While most gay men generally intend to use condoms, sex and risk happen in the heat of the moment and in those situations factors other than motivation or skills play a role. According to Prof de Wit, a key challenge for HIV prevention is to help people better self-regulate their behaviour in the situations in which sex actually occurs and in a context in which the meaning of HIV has vastly changed.
Barriers to STI testing among young people
Sexually active young people in Australia are at higher risk of contracting sexually transmissible infections (STIs) but testing still remains low in this population.
Findings from an online study among 1,100 young people, conducted by Dr Philippe Adam and colleagues from NCHSR and the NSW STI Programs Unit, reveal important new insights into why some young people do not test for STIs.
The findings show that testing for STIs is not simply a question of information and awareness. Complex psychological and social barriers also operate at individual and group levels and these can be addressed by innovative interventions.
Engaging with HIV as a professional interest
Health workforce shortages are often described as an increasing problem for many ‘advanced liberal’ nations.
The Paul Bourke Lecture, presented by Dr Christy Newman from NCHSR at The University of New South Wales in August, considered the growing relevance of research on workforce shortages to the Australian HIV sector.
Looking at her own experience as a qualitative social researcher and at the experience of general practitioners (GPs) who pursue HIV medicine in Australia, Dr Newman explored different ways of thinking about how an individual becomes engaged in HIV as an area of professional interest. Finally, she considered some more global examples of how ‘doctor shortages’ are represented in popular and policy discourse.