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NCHSR Newsletter

Issue 7, January–March 2013

National Centre in HIV Social Research  


Welcome to the seventh issue of NCHSR's quarterly e-Newsletter, bringing you the latest information on our current research projects, reports and events. In addition to disseminating study results, we are hoping that the newsletter will stimulate discussion about ways the sector can translate social science research into policy and practice.

Professor John de Wit

In this newsletter

  • Managing HIV, sex and risk among serodiscordant couples in a changing epidemic
  • Health and wellbeing of people living with HIV in Australia
  • AIDS 2014 
  • Sexual risk taking among gay men finding their partners online
  • Marginalised young people and drugs, injecting and hepatitis C 

Also Online

Managing HIV, sex and risk among serodiscordant couples in a changing epidemic

In view of the 'treatment revolution' and bold targets to reduce HIV infections in Australia over the next few years, a new study led by NCHSR directly responds to the social research priority to 'improve understanding of the experiences and HIV prevention needs of people in serodiscordant relationships', as outlined in the previous NSW HIV/AIDS Strategy. Past research has indicated that one-third of new infections in Australia occur within a regular relationship.

Health and wellbeing of people living with HIV in Australia

Stigma has long been recognised as a serious and debilitating feature of the HIV epidemic. There are a number of reasons why HIV may be stigmatised, including that it is a serious communicable disease which disproportionately affects groups already marginalised in society, and it is associated with taboo behaviours such as homosexual sex and drug use. The Stigma Audit study is the first large scale project to address the impact of stigma on health and wellbeing for people living with HIV in Australia.

The Stigma Audit research project was a joint effort by the National Centre in HIV Social Research and the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS on the experiences of stigma for people living with HIV and the implications for their health and wellbeing. This research contributes to a conceptual understanding of the experiences of stigma for people living with HIV hence shaping the development of novel interventions.

AIDS 2014

Accompanying the recent announcement of the AIDS 2014 Conference Coordinating Committee, Sharon Lewin (AIDS 2014 co-Chair) said, “Our committee members are leaders in the HIV response drawn from 14 countries. With such a wide array of expertise we are confident that AIDS 2014 will offer a conference programme covering the most pressing topics across the five different scientific tracks”.

And helping to ensure that happens in Track D of the Scientific Program will be Professor John de Wit, Director of the National Centre in HIV Social Research at The University of New South Wales. Together with Justine Sass of UNESCO, John will be co-Chair of the Social and Political Research, Law, Policy and Human Rights track. It will focus on the social, political, behavioural, and human rights factors influencing HIV risk, vulnerability, response, and impact as assessed in empirical research and legal and policy analyses.


Sexual risk taking among gay men finding their partners online

The internet is a popular way to meet sex partners, notably among gay men. Little is known, however, of gay men’s online conduct and while studies have found an association between the use of the internet and sexual risk taking this link is not well understood. A study was conducted by NCHSR to understand gay men’s online interactions and how chatting contributes to sexual risk taking. Preliminary results offer new understandings of the reasons why sexual risk taking occurs with some partners met online. According to Dr Philippe Adam, lead investigator of the Cybersex project, "the unique dynamic of online chatting and fantasising often produces risk, over and above gay men’s intentions."

Marginalised young people and drugs, injecting and hepatitis C

Lately discussions about hepatitis C prevention have reframed the focus on young people to include not only those who are injecting but those at risk for taking up injecting. By focussing on this group the hope is to reduce harms among those who might eventually inject and of course to reduce the incidence of hepatitis C infection. Indeed the highest incidence of hepatitis C infection occurs among people who have been injecting for three years or less. A new report released by NCHSR describes one of the first known studies of this group.



NCHSR e-Newsletters and e-Alerts will give you the latest information about our latest research projects, reports, seminars and events. Subscribe now... 

NCHSR research portal

The portal showcases those research projects conducted in collaboration with sector partners. It also enables participation in online surveys. Go to the NCHSR research portal... 

NCHSR website

This is the home of NCHSR at The University of New South Wales where you may read about our mission, values, staff, postgraduate students and extensive range of social and behavioural research. Here you will find downloadable copies of our research reports, our Annual Report and our Annual Report of Trends in Behaviour. Go to the NCHSR website... 

Contact us

If you have any queries about the articles in this newsletter or NCHSR, please contact Ann Whitelaw by telephoning +61 2 9385 6776 or by email to: 


Ms Judi Rainbow
Dr Philippe Adam



Latest News


Australia Forum on Sexuality, Education and Health

Wednesday April 10 will see the next national meeting of this forum held at The University of New South Wales. It will be organised around a series of short provocations on the theme Learning about sex—what, when, where and how? and there will be plenty of time for networking and discussion.  RSVP...

Call for papers

A special issue of Health Education Research focusing on new outcomes for sexual health promotion will be edited by NCHSR’s Director Professor John de Wit and Professor Peter Aggleton, together with Professor Ted Myers and Professor Janice du Mont. We encourage you to contribute to what we expect to be a very interesting and enlightening issue.  Find out more...

Editorial appointments to AIDS and Behavior

NCHSR Director, Professor John de Wit, has been appointed Associate Editor of AIDS and Behavior, and NCHSR Senior Research Fellow, Dr Martin Holt, has been appointed to its editorial board. AIDS and Behavior focuses on social science and behavioural research into HIV prevention, the social impact of HIV and interventions to improve treatment and prevention. Established in 1997, it has the highest impact factor of all social science journals in the HIV field. 

Editorial appointment to Health Education

Professor Peter Aggleton, who holds a UNSW Strategic Chair in Education and Health, has been named Editor-in-Chief of Health Education, an international journal published by SAGE that focuses on health education and health promotion research and policy. It is one of the most prestigious journals in its field and will shortly celebrate its 75th anniversary. Peter is also Editor-in-Chief of two other high status international journals and has considerable experience as an international book series editor. 

Editorial appointment to Journal of the International AIDS Society

Dr Martin Holt has also been invited to join the well regarded Journal of the International AIDS Society as an Associate Editor. This journal welcomes articles from all disciplines related to HIV and particularly encourages submissions from resource-limited and high prevalence countries.  



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