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Pharmaceutical HIV prevention technologies in the UK: six domains for social science research

AIDS Care, 2015, 27:6, 796-803 (doi:10.1080/09540121.2014.989484).

Authors: Peter Keogh & Catherine Dodds

Abstract

The development of pharmaceutical HIV prevention technologies (PPTs) over the last five years has generated intense interest from a range of stakeholders. There are concerns that these clinical and pharmaceutical interventions are proceeding with insufficient input of the social sciences. Hence key questions around implementation and evaluation remain unexplored whilst biomedical HIV prevention remains insufficiently critiqued or theorised from sociological as well as other social science perspectives. This paper presents the results of an expert symposium held in the UK to explore and build consensus on the role of the social sciences in researching and evaluating PPTs in this context. The symposium brought together UK social scientists from a variety of backgrounds. A position paper was produced and distributed in advance of the symposium and revised in the light this consultation phase. These exchanges and the emerging structure of this paper formed the basis for symposium panel presentations and break-out sessions. Recordings of all sessions were used to further refine the document which was also redrafted in light of ongoing comments from symposium participants. Six domains of enquiry for the social sciences were identified and discussed: self, identity and personal narrative; intimacy, risk and sex; communities, resistance and activism; systems, structures and institutions; economic considerations and analyses; and evaluation and outcomes. These are discussed in depth alongside overarching consensus points for social science research in this area as it moves forward.

Keywords

HIV prevention; pharmaceutical prevention technologies; social sciences; research and evaluation; symposium.

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