The continuing transformation of safe sex: current social and behavioural research on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis

When:8 Aug 2018, 4pm - 5pm
Venue:Room 221/223, Level 2, John Goodsell Building, UNSW Kensington Campus
Who:Prof. Martin Holt, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Sydney
Prof Martin Holt

HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is now publicly available across Australia, and can be prescribed by any doctor. PrEP use by gay and bisexual men continues to increase, generating optimism about its capacity to prevent HIV for large numbers of people who were previously at high risk of infection. The broader social, behavioural and community effects of PrEP have been equally momentous, suggesting that the introduction of PrEP is arguably a once-in-a-generation shift in HIV prevention practices. This has posed a challenge to researchers to follow the rapid pace of change among early adopters, attempting to understand the barriers and incentives to successful implementation, but also to consider the broader effects on collective notions of responsibility, optimism, trust and the significance of HIV. This presentation will present social and behavioural data on attitudes to PrEP and its effects on Australian gay and bisexual men’s sexual practices, drawing on the Gay Community Periodic Surveys and PrEPARE Project. It will also reflect on the burgeoning Australian and international literature on PrEP, and consider ongoing challenges in understanding and guiding the multiple facets of PrEP rollout and impact.

Professor Martin Holt specialises in HIV prevention research with gay and bisexual men. A social scientist by training, he has worked at the Centre for Social Research in Health since 2003. He leads a program of research investigating the impact of new forms of HIV prevention, particularly pre-exposure prophylaxis and treatment as prevention, on community norms, attitudes and practices.