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Participate in research

HIV research projects depend on the participation of volunteers—both HIV positive and HIV negative. Research projects can range from brief online surveys to lengthy face-to-face interviews, and may involve participation at a single time point or commitment over an extended period.

What's involved in a clinical trial?

If you are taking part in clinical research you will also have to provide a medical history and will usually be required to have a physical examination and/or specific tests or procedures such as providing blood samples. Clinical trials testing new drugs or other biomedical interventions require regular monitoring and usually you will not know if you are receiving the product under investigation or a placebo until the trial has finished.


What's involved in social research?

Social research can consist of online surveys, face to face interviews or group discussions - or a combination of all of these approaches. Sometimes social research also involves testing your blood, or other health tests.

The researchers will ask you questions or, in groups, encourage discussion about your experiences, behaviour, beliefs and attitudes related to the issue they are studying.

The questions may be quite personal. For example the HIV Futures study asks people with HIV about their experiences living with HIV, and the Gay Periodic Surveys ask gay men about their sexual behaviour, their beliefs about HIV and sexual health, and their strategies for reducing HIV risk.

You don't have to answer any question that you don't wish to.


Are there any risks?

All HIV research projects are approved by the ethics committee of the university and/or hospital conducting the project. You will be provided with information about the study and will be asked to provide consent prior to participating. This information will include any risks that may be posed by your participation.

In the case of social research, you will usually be given information about how to access counselling if participating in the research triggers emotional distress.


What about confidentiality?

Your participation will be completely anonymous (you do not provide your name) or confidential (your name or any other identifying information will only be known to the research team).


How will I benefit?

You should not expect to receive any direct benefits from participating in research. Sometimes, however, participation in clinical research will provide you with particular tests/procedures or pharmaceuticals that are not yet available as standard of care.

Participating in social research can also give you an opportunity to reflect on issues that are important to you.  


Can I stop participating?

You can withdraw from a study at any time, and this will not compromise your relationship with the research institution in any way.


Find out about current research projects

Click on the links below, and check out the banners at top right on this page, to find out about current HIV research projects.

The Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society

Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society

Centre for Social Research in Health

This page was published on 12 January, 2011

This page was reviewed on 13 April 2016