From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Africans living in Scotland

Black Africans account for the majority of heterosexual HIV diagnoses in the UK. In Scotland, relatively little is known about the sexual and HIV-related risk behaviours of the African population, and what little research there has been has focused on the service needs of those living with HIV or non-systematic mapping of local populations for service provision. A greater understanding of the population is required and this research studentship will explore the heterogeneity of Africans living in Scotland and examine their sensitivities to HIV testing and behavioural interventions or research.

The aim of this research is to explore the heterogeneity of the population of first generation African migrants in Scotland in order to understand how to improve their engagement with health services, particularly HIV testing.

The research questions for this study are as follows:

1.    How diverse is the African Migrant population in Scotland, and how do different dimensions of diversity affect engagement with health services?
2.    What is the nature of African’s social networks and how does this affect engagement with health services?
3.    What organisations claim to represent Africans in Scotland and in what ways do they affect African migrants’ access to health services?
4.    To what extent and in what ways do African migrants discuss sexual health, HIV, HIV testing and health service use within their social networks?
5.    How sensitive are different groups of Africans to being targeted for HIV interventions?

Current Research

Mathew Smith started this research in September 2011.

Field work started in October 2012 and consisted of 14 semi-structured interviews with representatives of organisations engaging with Africans and 27 semi structured interviews with Africans recruited from five sites across Scotland. At two of these sites, a community centre and a religious group, participant observation was carried out between November 2012 and August 2013, and field notes taken from these sessions will be analysed with the interview data. Fieldwork was completed in September 2013. Mathew has no submitted his thesis and is awaiting his viva, which is on March 4th 2016.