UCL News


Launch of new research unit in blood borne and sexually transmitted infections

2 April 2014

A new collaboration of health protection researchers across UCL, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Public Health England has launched today.

The partnership will lead innovative research to tackle blood-borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) across England.

The National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Blood Borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections at UCL aims to conduct state-of-the-art research to improve the health of the population, and to help develop practical policy guidelines for those working in health protection.

The NIHR HPRU has received almost £3.7 million to undertake collaborative research that addresses the key health protection priorities for the prevention and control of STIs and BBVs, notably understanding risk and risk reduction, reducing the burden of under-diagnosis, and improving care and management of those diagnosed with infections. 

Examples of proposed work include assessing the feasibility of offering sexual health testing within routine general practice, and developing recommendations for care for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV).

A diverse team of researchers from clinical medicine, epidemiology, medical statistics, qualitative science, social science, health economics, mathematical modelling and laboratory science have been brought together to create an innovative culture of working across different disease areas, populations, and institutions.

Professor Caroline Sabin, Director of the HPRU at UCL comments: "This funding allows us to conduct world class health protection research which will directly address the barriers to prevention and control of STIs and BBVs across England. We hope to develop a deeper understanding of the issues, resulting in research that we believe is likely to have a more meaningful impact on the health of the nation."

The NIHR HPRU in Blood Borne and Sexually Transmitted Infections formally came into practice in April 2014 and is funded for five years.