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Oral fluid HIV study nearing completion

Mon 21 Nov 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

Dr Peter Saxton Results from the oral fluid HIV study conducted in February are expected soon, says the study's lead researcher Dr Peter Saxton from the AIDS Epidemiology Group at the University of Otago. The study is the first in New Zealand to estimate the actual prevalence of HIV infection in a community sample of gay and bisexual men, and what proportion of that is undiagnosed. Individuals completing the 2011 Gay Auckland Periodic Sex Survey (GAPSS) were invited to provide an anonymous oral fluid specimen, which was linked back to their (also anonymous) questionnairebyunique code. "The laboratory analysis in Melbourne has been conducted, the oral fluid results and questionnaires have been linked, and the statistical analysis and interpretation is almost complete" says Dr Saxton. "This is a benchmark study, and we owe it to the participants and stakeholders to perform various quality checks and reach a considered view about what the data mean"."We also want the findings to inform prevention and testing services as soon as possible, so we're working hard to achieve those twin goals." This study on undiagnosed HIV is one of a number the AIDS Epidemiology Group have led recently to better understand trends in the HIV epidemic in New Zealand, and what the current situation is, so that policy making and interventions can improve. Others published this year include characteristics of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (available here), an examination of clinical "late" diagnoses (available here), and trends in the prevalence of diagnosed HIV over 25 years. The AIDS Epidemiology Group is Directed by Associate Professor Nigel Dickson in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago, with offices in Dunedin and Auckland. GAPSS is an ongoing collaboration between the AEG and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. The oral fluid study was funded by the Health Research Council and the University of Otago.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 21st November 2011 - 12:08pm

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