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Project launched to reduce HIV infections and stigma in Bristol's African and Caribbean communities

Press release issued: 11 January 2021

A major new project is inviting people to its virtual launch event, to find out more about how it will be working with people of African and Caribbean heritage to tackle HIV infections and stigma in these communities in Bristol and the surrounding area.

Common Ambition Bristol will see people of African and Caribbean heritage working in partnership with health care professionals to help develop new ways of increasing the uptake of HIV testing and reduce late HIV diagnosis and the stigma relating to it.

In order to achieve these goals, people of African and Caribbean heritage are encouraged to get in involved in the project through various paid and volunteer opportunities. To provide an opportunity to find out more about the project and ask any questions, a virtual launch event will be taking place on Tuesday 2 February.

The online meeting will take place over Zoom from 4.30 – 5.30 pm, and people are asked to register via Eventbrite.

The event will give people the opportunity to find out more about the background of the project, how the project will run, what opportunities there will be to get involved, ask any question they may have and to register their interest in being involved in the future. There will also be entertainment kindly organised by the African Voices Forum, a Bristol-based network of African and African-Caribbean community organisations.

Common Ambition Bristol is a three year project which is being led by Brigstowe (a Bristol-based charity for people living with HIV), in partnership with African Voices Forum. They will be working in collaboration with African and Caribbean communities, health care professionals from Unity Sexual Health and public health teams from Bristol City Council  to introduce new ways to increase the uptake of HIV testing and broader sexual health services. Researchers from the University of Bristol will work in collaboration with community members to evaluate the project.

Rami Ghali, chief executive officer of Brigstowe, said: "Brigstowe are excited about the opportunity to lead this strong partnership. The heart of Common Ambition Bristol is about genuine co-production and learning – we’re looking forward to working closely with African and Caribbean communities to find the best ways to increase HIV testing and reduce HIV stigma. We’ll be recruiting a diverse team of paid African and Caribbean community members to help us develop and test new approaches."

David Dravie-John, vice chair of the from African Voices Forum, added: "The African Voices Forum (AVF) Ltd, an umbrella organisation for 16 local community associations in Bristol, is delighted to be part of this wonderful partnership project, ‘Common Ambition Bristol’, that will address the inequalities faced by African and Caribbean heritage communities on the transmission of HIV, knowledge of HIV, HIV stigma, HIV testing and uptake of treatment."

Dr Lindsey Harryman, a consultant in genitourinary medicine at Unity Sexual Health which is led by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with our partners and the local community in a completely new way, and we look forward to virtually introducing people to this exciting project at our first event in February."

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for Communities, explained: "Working for communities means we must work with them and we will be creating genuine partnerships with African and Caribbean heritage communities, looking to end the persistent HIV inequalities experienced in these groups. As part of the global Fast Track Cities Initiative, Bristol is committed to reduce new HIV transmissions in the city to zero by 2030. This exciting project will help us achieve that goal and we encourage people to engage with it."

Dr Jeremy Horwood, Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Health at NIHR ARC West and the NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at the University of Bristol, added: "We know that there are barriers to accessing HIV and sexual health services for some groups. In this pioneering project the NHS will co-produce sexual health services in equal partnership with people of African and Caribbean heritage to develop sustainable interventions to address these inequalities. The involvement of the public is going to be vital to ensure the services are acceptable."

If you are interested in finding out more about this project and are unable to attend the launch event, please email

Further information

About the National Institute for Health Research
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the UK's largest funder of health and care research. The NIHR:

  • Funds, supports and delivers high quality research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care
  • Engages and involves patients, carers and the public in order to improve the reach, quality and impact of research
  • Attracts, trains and supports the best researchers to tackle the complex health and care challenges of the future
  • Invests in world-class infrastructure and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services
  • Partners with other public funders, charities and industry to maximise the value of research to patients and the economy

The NIHR was established in 2006 to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research, and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. In addition to its national role, the NIHR commissions applied health research for the direct and primary benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries, using UK aid from the UK government.

About the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol
The Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol is part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and a partnership between University of Bristol and Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with the MRC Biostatistics Unit at University of Cambridge and University of the West of England. We are a multidisciplinary team undertaking applied research on the development and evaluation of interventions to protect the public’s health. Our aim is to support PHE in delivering its objectives and functions.

Follow us on Twitter: @HPRU_BSE

About the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West (ARC West)
The NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West (ARC West) conducts applied health research with its partners and others in the health and care sector, alongside patients and members of the public. Applied health research aims to address the immediate issues facing the health and social care system. ARC West also helps bring research evidence into practice and provides training for the local workforce.

Follow us on Twitter: @ARC_West

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