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NCHSR Publications

September 2012

National Centre in HIV Social Research  

Dear colleague

This is a monthly update of articles and reports produced by our Centre and our project partners and published in the last month.

For further information about NCHSR and our activities or to download any of our online publications please go to our website.


Released: September 2012

Integrating ethnographic principles in NGO monitoring and impact evaluation

Peter Aggleton

Getting close(r) to where the action is ...
All over the world, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community groups are looking for novel ways of evaluating the success of their programs and interventions. There is growing interest in ways of monitoring programmes and assessing impact that are more grounded in the realities of practice than some of the log-frame, ‘results-based’ methods currently promoted.

In this paper just published in the Journal of International Development, Peter Aggleton and Stephen Bell outline a new approach to program evaluation based on principles of ethnography. The paper calls for greater use of anthropological methods in program evaluation. Drawing on findings from recent research in Uganda examining HIV prevention and sexual health programs with rural youth, the paper reveals how rigorous qualitative research using ethnographic principles can sometimes surprise practitioners, enabling them to learn how best to modify and strengthen intervention delivery.

Click to contact Professor Peter Aggleton.

Citation: Bell, S. & Aggleton, P. (2012) Integrating Ethnographic Principles in NGO Monitoring and Impact Evaluation. Journal of International Development, 24, 795–807.


Released: September 2012

HIV-negative and HIV-positive gay men’s attitudes to medicines, HIV treatments and antiretroviral-based prevention

Martin Holt

The last few years have seen dramatic advances in HIV prevention science, with international trials indicating that antiretroviral-based strategies such as ‘treatment as prevention’ and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) can be effective in preventing HIV infection. How to incorporate these strategies within Australia is a matter of debate. The PrEPARE Project has contributed evidence to this debate by investigating gay and bisexual men’s attitudes to PrEP, HIV treatments and existing prevention technologies such as condoms.

The most recent paper from the project compares the attitudes of HIV-negative and HIV-positive men to PrEP, HIV treatments and treatment as prevention, using survey data from 1041 men (88% HIV-negative and 12% HIV-positive). We found that HIV-negative and HIV-positive men had similar attitudes to PrEP but divergent views about HIV treatments and ‘treatment as prevention’. Both HIV-negative and HIV-positive men disagreed with the idea that HIV drugs should be restricted to HIV-positive people, indicating a common interest in using antiretroviral drugs for prevention. There were more differences in attitudes to HIV treatments, with HIV-negative men seeing HIV treatments as difficult to take. Views towards treatment as prevention were sceptical among both groups of men, but HIV-negative men were particularly sceptical about whether HIV treatment or an undetectable viral load prevented HIV transmission.

Click to contact the lead author, Dr Martin Holt.


Citation: Holt, M., Murphy, D., Callander, D., Ellard, J., Rosengarten, M., Kippax, S., & de Wit, J. (2012). HIV-negative and HIV-positive gay men’s attitudes to medicines, HIV treatments and antiretroviral-based prevention. AIDS and Behavior. Advance online publication.

Released: September 2012

Trends in drug use among gay and bisexual men

Toby Lea

Australian drug surveillance surveys typically do not stratify their findings by sexual orientation despite the higher prevalence of drug use among people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. We examined trends in drug use among gay and bisexual men in eastern Australia between 2004 and 2011, using data from the Gay Community Periodic Surveys (GCPS). The GCPS are ongoing, cross-sectional surveys of gay and other homosexually active men conducted across Australia, monitoring sexual risk and drug use associated with the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections in the six months prior to the surveys.

Generally, the proportion of men who reported any drug use gradually declined between 2004 and 2011 (62.2% to 57.5%). Regarding specific drugs, significant reductions occurred in the use of ecstasy, methamphetamine, ketamine and cannabis. However, contrary to the overall trend, the use of cocaine, GHB, erectile dysfunction medications, amyl nitrite and LSD increased. Injecting drug use fluctuated over time but experienced an overall downward trend from 5.5% to 4.0%. Trends in drug use among gay and bisexual men in this study are broadly consistent with those found among heterosexual people. However, the continuing high rates of drug use and associated risks among gay and bisexual men supports the ongoing role of the GCPS in monitoring drug trends.

Click to contact the lead author, Dr Toby Lea.


Citation: Lea, T., Prestage, G., Mao, L., Zablotska, I., de Wit, J., & Holt, M. (2012). Trends in drug use among gay and bisexual men in Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland, Australia. Drug and Alcohol Review. Advance online publication.


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