Department of Medicine

Stories from the SPARTAC clinical trial

banner pic of woman with babyThrough interviews in 8 short films with SPARTAC clinicians, nurses, counsellors and participants from across the world, find out what it was like to be part of an HIV clinical trial, take treatment when only recently infected with HIV and what the next key HIV research questions are.

[NOTE: The participants did not know the results of the SPARTAC clinical trial when the interviews were conducted.]


An early HIV diagnosis

How did the SPARTAC participants feel when they found out they had recently been infected with HIV? What are the risks at this early stage of infection?

HIV status

SPARTAC staff and participants speak on knowing your HIV status. Did knowing their HIV status change the SPARTAC participants' behaviour?


Taking part in a clinical trial

Why SPARTAC participants want to take part in an HIV clinical trial? Did they have any concerns? What were the SPARTAC clinicians expecting to happen?

Starting early short course treatment

SPARTAC participants were asked to take a short course of treatment much earlier than currently recommended. How did they feel about starting treatment so early in their HIV infection?


Taking medication and its side effects

How do the SPARTAC participants feel about taking medication? Did they experience side effects?

Stopping short course treatment

SPARTAC participants on stopping the short courses of treatment they received as part of the study and then starting life-long treatment later.

Future HIV research: test and treat

A recent idea in HIV prevention and treatment is to start treating people as soon as they are diagnosed as positive, regardless of their stage of disease. It is called test and treat. Currently, people living with HIV do not start treatment until later on in their infection when they start to feel ill. Whether an HIV test shows you are HIV positive or HIV negative, the test can help you to stay healthy by managing your healthcare and looking after yourself through safe sex.

Frequent HIV testing

SPARTAC participants and clinical staff speak on the many barriers that prevent people from wanting to get tested.

Immediate treatment

Would people want to take treatment as soon as they have been diagnosed with HIV? Our staff and participants discuss:

Thank you to all SPARTAC study staff and volunteers, and a special thank you to all those who took part in these films.

Filmmaker: Tom Gibb,

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