Supporting sexual health and HIV research at Brighton and Sussex Medical School

October 29, 2022

Since opening in 2003, Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) has trained more than 1,700 new NHS doctors who now work across the UK. In addition to the commitment to education, BSMS has a strong reputation for supporting translational research that has a real impact to patients. Sexual health and HIV have been at the core to research strategy recognising the unique position that Brighton & Hove has as a tolerant and inclusive city.

In 2015, the Sexual Health and HIV Research Group within BSMS was created which supports a vibrant research programme focused on four interlinked research themes: HIV and STIs prevention and treatment; ageing and comorbidities; development of new models of care; and implementation of Injectable antiretrovirals to treat HIV. We also have developed a global dimension to the programme through partnerships in South Africa, Uganda, Colombia, Ethiopia and Zambia where some projects mirror those in the UK, while others focus on important regional challenges such as the impact of climate change on HIV drug resistance and HIV prevention in high-prevalence settings.

Locally we have been working in partnership with clinicians from the NHS trust, and community organisations supporting sexual health care across the city to co-design research studies that address important problems currently faced by our patients and local health services. As examples of our work, we have several projects focusing on the development and evaluation of innovative models of care for people with HIV with comorbidities, as well as interventional studies aimed at improving quality of life, and mental wellbeing of people with HIV, including the implementation of injectable treatments for HIV.

Another project that has made a significant impact to reaching the goal of eliminating HIV in the city is the implementation of vending machines distributing HIV and STI tests across several locations within the city including Jubilee Library. The award-winning machines, developed by the Martin Fisher Foundation in collaboration BSMS in 2017, provide STI testing kits for people without symptoms who want to check their sexual health or HIV status. The machines contain self-sampling swabs and blood sampling equipment which will be tested for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV when returned through the post to the Sexual Health Clinic. For more info, CLICK HERE 

Research has the power to change the way we diagnose, treat, prevent and manage HIV. The BSMS Sexual Health and HIV Group is committed to design and deliver research with direct impact to patients and policy makers. If you are interest in knowing more about current research projects or would like to participate you can contact us here.