Victoria Watson

Uptake of HIV testing within black African communities in Liverpool- reaching the unreached with a tailored HIV self-testing pilot study

Since the beginning of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic, more than 70 million people have been infected and about 35 million people have died of HIV. Currently, there are approximately 37 million people living with HIV globally. It is estimated that there are 101,600 people living with HIV in the UK.

HIV testing and treatment is free and available to everyone in the UK, however, a high number of individuals in the UK remain undiagnosed and rates of late diagnosis remain high. In the North West of England, black Africans are more likely to be diagnosed late than the white population (68% and 43% respectively).

HIV self-testing has proved effective in reaching untested populations in Africa and this project aims to explore the key barriers to HIV testing within African black minority ethnic (BME) communities in Liverpool to inform the design of an HIV self-testing pilot tailored to the needs of the communities.

Increasing uptake of testing will reduce the numbers of undiagnosed infections, improve outcomes and reduce onward transmission of HIV.

I will be working closely with Public Health Liverpool, the HIV Fast-Track Cities Initiative and the International Public Health Department at LSTM.