HIV Prevention Group

Head: Professor Mark Stoové

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Overview

Image: HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)

In Australia, HIV notifications increased substantially in the early 2000s and have remained intractably high since. While recent scale-up of biomedical HIV prevention strategies have the potential to impact the HIV epidemic in Australia, challenges remain for ensuring their equitable deployment and optimal strategic investment. HIV is also a major public health issue across Southeast Asia where approximately 10 per cent of the world’s 37 million adults and children living with HIV reside.

The HIV Prevention group conducts innovative epidemiological and implementation research aimed at understanding the transmission and prevention of HIV, with a particular focus on those populations most at risk, such as men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs.

Objectives

  • Undertaking research involving the groups most at risk and vulnerable to HIV, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, young people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • Integrating findings from our surveillance, epidemiology and research work to inform policy and practice to prevent HIV transmission.

Highlights

  • Suck It and See and COUNT

Suck it and See was Australia’s first HIV community bio-prevalence that aimed to measure and better understand undiagnosed HIV among gay men in Melbourne. The importance of undiagnosed HIV in driving the epidemic has become increasingly recognised, and the HIV Prevention group later collaborated with the University of NSW to undertake Australia’s first national study of undiagnosed HIV – COUNT.

In collaboration with the Victorian AIDS Council and the Victorian Government, the HIV Prevention group led the establishment of Australia’s first shop-front, community-based and peer-led, HIV testing service for gay men as part of a two-year trial. The Victorian AIDS Council has since established the PRONTO! service as an integral part of Victoria’s community and clinical HIV prevention and care landscape. Burnet Institute continues to monitor testing at PRONTO! and evaluate service outcomes.

Projects