Opposites Attract is recruiting now!

If you would like to express your interest in joining the study with your opposite HIV status sexual partner, please complete the form below. We’ll get in touch with you soon.

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    What's Involved

    The Opposites Attract Study is recruiting pairs of men who are currently in a serodiscordant sexual relationship (where one man is HIV-negative and the other is HIV-positive). The men will have regular sexual health and HIV testing at a clinic, and will complete a short online questionnaire immediately after each visit to their clinic.

    The key study question is to what extent anti-HIV treatment reduces the risk of passing on HIV to an HIV-negative partner.

    This means we need men in pos/neg sexual relationships to join the study and be followed up over time. Pairs can join the study if the HIV-positive partner is on anti-HIV treatment or not.

    There isn’t much research out there about gay male serodiscordant relationships, so we’re also finding out about some other important questions such as how STIs (sexually transmitted infections) affect viral load and HIV risk, how gay men in serodiscordant relationships talk about viral load with each other, and how they use viral load results to make decisions about sex. 
This study is being conducted by the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society (formerly known as the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research) at the University of New South Wales, with a range of clinical partners.  In Australia the study is open to men in serodiscordant sexual relationships in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Cairns. It is also open to men in Bangkok, Thailand, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Who can participate in the study?

    You can join Opposites Attract with your partner if:

    • You are a man in an ongoing sexual relationship with another man of the opposite HIV status to you
    • You live in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, or Cairns; Bangkok; or Rio de Janeiro
    • You and your partner are both 18 years or over
    • You think you will still be having sex with each other for at least the next few months

     The important things in this study are that you and your sexual partner of the opposite HIV status are in a sexual relationship with each other where you have anal sex (at least once a month on average).  You can be boyfriends, life partners, and husbands; or you could just be fuckbuddies or “friends with benefits”.  The sexual relationship may have been going on for years, or possibly only a few weeks.

    It also doesn’t matter if the positive partner is on anti-HIV treatments or not. It also doesn’t matter whether you never, sometimes or always use condoms when you have sex with each other.

    What’s involved?

    The study is straightforward and won’t take too much of your time.

    First, you’ll enroll in the study with your partner at one of the participating clinics. It works best if you both attend the clinic together at the same time. The nurse at this clinic will check that you are eligible to participate in the study, provide you with all the information you need, and ask you to sign consent forms.

    Next, once both you and your partner are enrolled, you’ll have some samples taken for tests. For the HIV-positive partner, this will be at your normal HIV doctor and will simply involve a viral load test and whatever else your doctor normally does (e.g. CD4 count, STI tests). For the HIV-negative partner, you’ll go to the clinic within two weeks of when your HIV-positive partner goes to his clinic visit.  You’ll be tested for HIV antibodies and STIs.

    After each one of these clinic visits, you’ll individually fill out an online questionnaire at home.

    Opposites Attract is a study which follows you up over time. Some HIV-positive men go to their HIV doctors every couple of months and some go only twice a year.  This study follows whatever pattern of doctor’s visits the HIV-positive partner already does.  Whenever the HIV-positive partner goes to his HIV doctor and has a viral load test, the HIV-negative partner in the pair will also go to his clinic visit. Each time both partners go to the clinic, they will fill out an online questionnaire after the visit.

    How long does Opposites Attract go for?

    The whole study is running for 4 years. But enrolling in Opposites Attract doesn’t mean you need to stay in the study for the whole time! However, we’d love you to stay involved for as long as possible.

    Where can I get involved?

    To participate in the Opposites Attract Study, you and your partner will need to go to one of our participating clinics in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Bangkok or Rio de Janeiro for your study visits.

    To see a full list of the participating clinics, click here.

    What happens if we break up or stop having sex with each other?

    If you and your study partner break up with each other or stop having sex with each other, then your participation in the study will have to end.  But it is no problem if you participate in the study for only a short while.  We simply ask that if you stop having sex with each other, both partners attend a final clinic visit and complete a final online questionnaire.  If you later get a different opposite-HIV-status sex partner (or if you start having sex with your original one again), you can rejoin the study.

    What happens if the HIV-negative partner gets HIV during the study?

    If the initially HIV-negative partner tests positive for HIV during the study, both partners’ participation in the study will have to end.  We will invite you to have one last clinic visit and complete a final online questionnaire.  You’ll also be invited to participate in an interview with one of the study staff.


    Semen Sub-Study

    Research shows that viral load in semen is not always the same as viral load in blood. We’re exploring this question in Opposites Attract.

    The HIV-positive partners in Sydney, Bangkok and Rio de Janeiro can volunteer to participate in an important sub-study focusing on viral load in semen.  If you participate in the sub-study, you will provide a semen sample within 48 hours of your normal clinic visit.  The semen will be frozen and stored, and we will test the semen for viral load at the end of the study.  If you would like to know the results of the viral load tests at the end of the study, we can provide the results to your doctor when the study has finished.

    The semen sub-study is entirely optional.