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CSRH Newsletter

Issue 8, April–June 2013

Centre for Social Research in Health  


It’s become customary for me to welcome you to the next issue of our newsletter. It is my pleasure to do so again, and I hope you will enjoy reading this 8th issue. In addition to continuing a tradition, this newsletter also marks the beginning of a new era.

As of 26 June 2013, NCHSR is officially renamed the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) and the background to this name change is detailed in other contributions to this newsletter. This edition also showcases research projects illustrating the broadened remit of the centre, as well as highlighting recent achievements in areas of our work that you’re familiar with and that will continue to be central to our research program into the future.

You are cordially invited to subscribe to this newsletter and occasional e-alerts which will announce new CSRH publications and upcoming seminars.

In this Newsletter

  • A new name for NCHSR
  • Watching porn: Not the ‘bad influence’ often thought?
  • Managing HIV in general practice
  • A safe and supportive community for children
  • Barriers to hepatitis testing among gay men
  • Patterns of cancer care among Aboriginal people
  • Being a migrant and living with HIV

Also Online

A new name for NCHSR: marking change and ensuring continuity

Since its formal establishment in 1990, the National Centre in HIV Social Research has always been about more than just HIV. As the suite of national strategies has expanded over time, so has our research program and this has long fuelled questions about a more appropriate name. Building on previous deliberations that at least go back as far as the late 1990s, we’re now taking the small step of changing our name to leap into a future that offers many new opportunities for health-related social research that makes a difference to affected individuals and communities.

Managing HIV in general practice

HIV has become a chronic manageable infection in the developed world, and early and lifelong treatment has the potential to significantly reduce transmission rates in the community. We need health and medical practitioners to be both skilled and motivated to provide high quality HIV care across all parts of the Australian community if we are to achieve and sustain these health management and prevention outcomes.

This three-year, national qualitative study investigated the rewards and challenges of providing HIV care in general practice settings around Australia, with a particular interest in understanding workforce issues and building knowledge on the role of the general practitioner in maintaining and enhancing the health of people living with HIV. Seven articles have now been published or are in press with peer reviewed journals, exploring various aspects of these accounts, and three more manuscripts are in development.

Barriers to hepatitis C testing among gay men

Current research suggests that the incidence of hepatitis C (HCV) is increasing among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM). While injecting drug use is the leading mode of HCV transmission in the developed world, there is increasing evidence to suggest the transmission of HCV among MSM is related to sexual practices.

While a number of studies have identified outbreaks of HCV among HIV-positive MSM who do not engage in injecting drug use, HCV prevalence is relatively low among HIV-negative men compared to the general population. This positions HCV transmission as sexual for this population and has led to suggestions by some of the possibility of a new HCV epidemic among MSM already infected with HIV.

Patterns of cancer care among Aboriginal people

There is growing research and advocacy that acknowledge the increasing experience of cancer in Aboriginal life. Available literature on cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (hereafter respectfully referred to as ‘Aboriginal people’) indicates higher cancer incidence and mortality rates among Aboriginal Australians compared with non-Aboriginal Australians. The engagement in cancer care for Aboriginal people is lower at all levels including screening, early presentation at diagnosis, continuity of care and compliance with treatment. Although cancer has drawn only relatively recent attention, current research suggests that cancer outcomes for Aboriginal people resemble those for other conditions and are similarly shaped by multiple and overlapping vulnerabilities.

Being a migrant and living with HIV

Living with HIV, cultural diversity, gender and sexuality is a highly heterogeneous phenomenon. It cuts across gender and sexual orientation, it varies according to gender and sexual orientation, and it varies within gender and sexual orientation.

This study investigated and reports on the experiences of twenty-seven people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds living with HIV: gay men and heterosexual men and women from 18 different countries of origin.

At the most basic level, migration and residency status determine whether a person can receive healthcare and treatment, and what kind of care, treatment and support they do receive. Also essential is to what extent and how settled people are in their new environment. Meeting survival needs is the most important task before health needs can be addressed. Once these needs have been met and people have been connected with health and social services, gay men and heterosexual men and women can live an existence that allows them to take care of their own personal needs and to fulfil their social obligations, notably to their families. Therefore, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach to care and support for people living with HIV from CALD backgrounds. It needs to address health needs and social needs within the cultural frameworks that can enable some but constrain others and vice-versa.

Korner, H., Katsaros, E., & Luisi, B. (2013). Living with HIV and cultural diversity in Sydney: migration, gender and sexuality. (Monograph 1/2013). Sydney: National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales.

Watching porn: Not the ‘bad influence’ often thought?

There are widespread concerns that the increasing presence of sexually explicit materials may negatively affect sexual attitudes and behaviours in young people. These concerns have been fuelled by previous research suggesting that viewing pornography may be linked to the sexual behaviour of adolescents and young adults. However, a recent paper drawing on a study led by CSRH’s John de Wit and Philippe Adam finds that any direct influence of viewing porn on the sexual behaviours of young people is very limited.
This study of young people in The Netherlands, conducted in collaboration with colleagues in Denmark and The Netherlands, shows that watching sexually explicit materials is probably just one of many factors that may influence the sexual behaviours of young people.
Moreover, viewing porn as well as potentially risky sexual practices may reflect sexual sensation seeking. Perhaps because the findings critically query some contemporary discourses, the paper recently published in the high-impact Journal of Sexual Medicine has received much attention in influential media across the United States, Europe and Australia in particular. Read more...



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

CSRH research portal

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

CSRH website

This is the home of CSRH 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 CSRH website...

Contact us

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


Ms Judi Rainbow
Dr Philippe Adam


A safe and supportive
community for children

This joint research project has been awarded to Dr kylie valentine (SPRC) and Professor Carla Treloar (CSRH) by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
It will aim to understand the conditions necessary to create a child-safe and child-friendly community. The project acknowledges the broader research agenda of CSRH while drawing on expertise in the drug and alcohol area, in particular, and building on our close ties with the Social Policy Research Centre. 


Latest News


Dean's Research Awards

Professor Carla Treloar, Deputy Director of CSRH, was recently awarded the inaugural Dean's Research Award for Achievement in Research Leadership. This award recognises a staff member who has made a significant contribution to the research efforts of his/her peers and colleagues. Professor Treloar's nomination recognised her contribution to creating a dynamic and successful research environment to attract and foster talented academic staff and to producing the means by which CSRH research can impact on community, health agency and policy agendas.

Research collaboration in China

Dr Limin Mao and Professor John de Wit of CSRH receiveded UNSW International Contestable Funding for their Strengthening HIV Social Research Collaboration in China project. This will allow candidates from two Chinese Universities to benefit from a two month practicum and mentoring program at CSRH. On their return to China the candidates will facilitate the recruitment of peers to CSRH web-hosted training seminars to further contribute to capacity building in health-related social research.


ASHM HIV Clinical Lecture Series

The inaugural ASHM Clinical Lecture Series for HIV clinicians took place in late March  over three consecutive nights in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The first topic of the series was Treatment as Prevention? and the keynote address, What do we know and what can we expect, was delivered by Dr Kenneth Mayer. He was joined by a panel for case studies and discussion, consisting of a local community representative from each city, Dr Robert Finlayson (Taylor Square Clinic), Dr Andrew Carr (St Vincent’s Hospital), Dr Edwina Wright (The Alfred Hospital) and CSRH’s Prof John de Wit who spoke about the critical role of behaviour, in particular treatment adherence, for effective use of ART for treatment, prevention and prophylaxis.
See the online video... 

CSRH Seminar Series: 10 July

The presenter of the next lunchtime seminar will be Ms Elena Cama of CSRH. Her topic will be Transgender and male-victim blaming. Please join us for a most interesting discussion.  


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