HIV Futures, the largest and longest-running study of people living with HIV in Australia, is now open for the 10th time. The study has tracked the health, wellbeing and experiences of people living with HIV in Australia for the past 25 years.
The HIV Futures 10 survey (hivfutures.org.au) is currently seeking participants. Researchers are calling on Australians living with HIV to contribute their experiences.
The HIV Futures study began in 1997 following calls from community advocates for research which explored how people were coping socially, emotionally and financially after the introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 1996 – the major treatment breakthrough that took HIV from an almost certain death sentence to a manageable condition, and saw many thousands of people regain their health and their lives.
In 2021, the HIV Futures study continues to explore issues related to the experience of living with HIV, with a particular focus on factors that affect quality of life.
"Things that affect people’s lives have changed considerably since 1997," said lead researcher Dr Jennifer Power. "For most people, modern ART has few side effects and simple pill regimens - minimal life disruption."
"Health and wellbeing issues for people living with HIV are now commonly related to ageing, chronic illnesses and mental health."
"However, HIV-related stigma still has a profound effect on many people’s everyday life, causing stress and anxiety."
"Of particular note, HIV Futures 10 aims to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of people living HIV," said Dr Power.
HIV Futures is run by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), based at La Trobe University, and is funded by the Australian Department of Health. A range of peer-based organisations and HIV advocacy/community agencies are actively involved in the project, from design through to reporting.
Findings from HIV Futures inform targets set in Australian National HIV Strategy relating to quality of life among people living with HIV. This is an important study that directly affects how funding is allocated for the HIV response. The study also provides evidence to support policy, advocacy, research, clinical services and community-based support.
HIV Futures 10 is seeking participants now and will be open until April 2022. If you are an Australian living with HIV, please complete the survey online at hivfutures.org.au, or for a paper copy, please email email@example.com. You can also download resources and graphics to help you share the study with your networks.