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Online access boosts HIV survey numbers

Thu 16 Aug 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

Responses generated online have increased the number of participants in a survey of HIV positive people. Researchers received 257 responses for New Zealand's largest comprehensive study into the health and social experiences of people living with HIV - an increase on the numbers surveyed for the last HIV Futures study, conducted in 2002 without an online component. HIV Futures NZ 2 was launched in February, a joint project led by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University, Melbourne, and run in collaboration with the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and HIV positive peer support organisations nationwide. Project leader Dr Jeffrey Grierson of La Trobe University says the survey had responses from all parts of the country, "and from a broad range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The sample that we've managed to achieve in this study will be very useful in understanding the diverse experiences of people living with HIV.” Jonathan Smith, an HIV positive man who acted as project liaison for HIV Futures, says the data collection process was a great success. “We must thank all HIV positive people who took the time to complete the survey and the clinicians, doctors and other key people for working with us to promote the research project, including Body Positive, Positive Women, Poz Plus, Absolutely Positively Positive and the African Health Promotion Programme,” he says. Of particular importance will be identifying whether needs identified in the last HIV Futures study have been addressed. “Access to the most effective medications was a major concern raised in the 2002 study, and as a result NZAF has worked hard to achieve parity with Australia in this area,” says NZAF Research Director Tony Hughes. “It's important we confirm that this has actually had an effect on the quality of HIV positive people's lives, and what other issues need to be addressed over the next five years.” Results from HIV Futures NZ 2 are currently being analysed, with a comprehensive report expected to be launched in November. “It is important for us to get the results back to participants and agencies as quickly as possible so that the findings can be used to improve services and plan for the future,” says Grierson. “We will continue to work closely with community organisations, clinical services and government to ensure that the findings translate into real benefits for people living with HIV and AIDS.”     Ref: HIV Positive Futures (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 16th August 2007 - 5:44pm

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