Participatory HIV research on 'sensitive' and 'illegal' topics / by Alexander McClelland

Based on the focus of my doctoral research, I participated in the the development of the Learning about illegal, sensitive and stigmatized topics for the HIV CBR Ethics project. Overall the project developed a series of 10 evidence-based fact sheets, we identify key ethical considerations when designing HIV CBR projects and seeking ethics review. We encourage HIV CBR teams to use these fact sheets to assist in project planning and to engage their REBs in a dialogue about a range of strategies for ensuring conventional ethical standards are balanced with diverse community needs. This specific fact sheet covers four key issues for researchers working with sensitive and or illegal topic:

  • Supporting participants following the disclosure of sensitive and illegal information
  • Research vs.therapy
  • Professional and legal considerations (e.g.,duty to report)
  • Protecting the well-being of participants and whole communities
  • Working with REBs to develop strategies to protect sensitive data
  • Framing sensitive research findings