Research on interventions for UK African communities

Little or no research has been conducted into interventions for African communities, in the UK and elsewhere. In 2005, when the Medical Research Council published a review of research among black African communities affected by HIV in the UK and Europe,1 it could not find any randomised controlled trials on HIV-prevention interventions among Africans. However, there have been significant surveys of treatment and social needs (Project NASAH), sexual attitudes and lifestyles (the Padare Project) and HIV prevalence and testing (the Mayisha Projects).

There were no studies in peer-reviewed journals describing HIV-prevention interventions with people of sub-Saharan African origin. However, information on existing interventions was available through ‘grey literature’ (mainly reports and online publications), and details of 31 interventions were obtained, 22 in the UK and nine in other European countries.

Only one of these actually attempted to measure its own efficacy in terms of public health indicators. This consisted of two seminars for 40 people, with four follow-up workshops, offering information and advice on HIV and sexual health to Swahili-speaking young people in Islington. It measured, and found, a significant reduction in the number of unwanted sexual health outcomes (unwanted pregnancies and STIs) among seminar attendees. This is the only prevention study among UK (or European) Africans that had as an outcome measure anything other than a measurement of the ‘busy-ness’ of the project itself, such as leaflets distributed, phone calls made, or clients contacted.


  1. Prost A A Review of Research among Black African Communities Affected by HIV in the UK and Europe. Medical Research Council, 2005
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