Start Date

Feb 2023


Open to Recruitment

Principal Investigator

Dr Claire Mackintosh

Despite antiretroviral therapy (ART) being freely available for many years to people living with HIV in Western Europe, and the widening access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), 21,793 individuals were newly-diagnosed with HIV in 2019. An understanding of what drives ongoing infections is important, as is the experience and impact of HIV seroconversion on mental health, quality of life (QoL), and physical health, particularly in the context of PrEP and treatment as prevention.

We aim to explore biological characteristics, understand the experiences and needs, and measure the outcomes of individuals who have recently-acquired HIV in Europe. This mixed-methods study (comprising 4 work packages, WP) will be conducted in nine Western European countries and Canada and will use existing clinical data, and questionnaires, qualitative interviews and participatory photography.

WP1: describe current epidemic trends, viral characteristics and viral/host interactions using pooled clinical data from cohorts across Europe and Canada. This will allow us to respond to changes in viral characteristics and in the prevalence of transmitted drug resistance.

WP2: questionnaire to understand experiences and needs of people diagnosed with recently-acquired HIV, including missed opportunities for HIV prevention. Linked to clinical outcomes, this information provides greater insight to ensure that prevention services and campaigns are appropriate to those at risk of acquiring HIV.

WP3: identify factors associated with delays in ART initiation and willingness of individuals to initiate ART and assess the effects of timing of ART initiation. The clinical experience and outcomes in this real-world setting of individuals who have sought healthcare at such an early stage in infection can be considered a target against which to assess the outcomes of others who present with unknown HIV infection duration.

WP4: longitudinal interviews and participatory photography to explore the lived experience and needs of people with recently-acquired HIV.

By better understanding the experiences and needs of people with recently-acquired HIV, the study will develop a knowledge base to inform services and support. By identifying missed opportunities for HIV prevention, this work will also provide important insights for future interventions.

Main Funding Body