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Social research

Research on groups and populations most at risk of infection is an important part of the Australian response to the HIV epidemic.

Social researchers employ different research methods and disciplines to undertake research.

Social research includes:

  • Monitoring behaviours that increase the spread of HIV such as unprotected sex and sharing injecting equipment
  • Describing the experiences of HIV testing and diagnosis
  • Exploring the experiences of living with HIV, for example disclosure of HIV status, decisions about treatments, and experiences of HIV-related stigma
  • Understanding how people living with HIV interact with health care services and negotiate their health care
  • Examining attitudes towards new HIV prevention technologies such as Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

An important component of social research is meaningful engagement with the communities or groups being researched to ensure that research is ethical, asks the right questions, and produces results that can be used for the benefit of those communities. Australian HIV research centres are committed to such engagement with the communities most affected by HIV.

Social research centres

Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) is located at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.  CSRH is responsible for the regular Gay Community Periodic Surveys and the Annual Report on Trends in Behaviour as well as a range of other HIV and sexual health related projects.

Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society (ARCSHS) is an independent research unit within the College of Science, Health and Engineering at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

ARCSHS is responsible for the ongoing HIV Futures research into the experience of people with HIV as well as a number of other projects related to sexuality, health, and the social dimensions of human relationships.



This page was published on 12 January, 2011

This page was reviewed on 18 December 2015