13th Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Related Diseases
Deadline for abstract submission extended until 4 November.
The theme of the conference is promises & limitations: biomedical treatment and prevention in the real world. Delegates will be asked to consider how biomedical technologies shape our understanding of the treatment and prevention of blood borne viruses, illicit drug use, chronic illness and sexually transmitted infections. The conference offers an opportunity to think critically about biomedicalisation, specifically the way that it helps or challenges understandings of treatment and prevention, the promises it holds and the extent to which these
Professor Deborah Lupton, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, The University of Sydney
Dr Helen Keane, School of Sociology, The Australian National University
Dr Mark Davis, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University
We hope you can make time to join us in February for a look at the increasing focus on the biomedicalisation of illness.
Culture, sexuality and HIV in Vietnam
Professor Peter Aggleton was in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City recently to give two public lectures and to launch a Vietnamese language version of his book Culture, Society and Sexuality (edited jointly with Richard Parker, Columbia University, New York).
His lectures focused on the centrality of community and collective action to the national and local HIV response. According to Professor Aggleton, ‘There is no simple magic bullet for success, either in the form of biomedical intervention or in the social domain. Instead, nearly 30 years experience shows us it is collective agency—by researchers and health professionals, by members of affected groups, and by individuals—that matters most when it comes to HIV prevention, care and support’.
Can police help to get more young substance using offenders into treatment?
Researchers, governments and youth workers know that there is a small group of young people in the community who are involved in multiple risky activities. They are simultaneously involved with police, the juvenile justice system, and youth and other community services. Usually, drugs and alcohol are implicated in some way. More often than not, this group of young people have had difficult lives of poverty, violence, family upheaval, and homelessness. For these reasons the justice system seeks leniency when they commit offences, especially in relation to alcohol and
illicit drug use.
Gay and bisexual men and hepatitis C: an inconvenient infection
Sex and intoxication have reserved seating at the table of human experience; they constitute a significant proportion of the pleasure of living. Nonetheless, in some contexts sexual practice and drug use are associated with the transmission of HIV and/or hepatitis C infections.
A new mixed-method study, currently underway at the Centre for Social Research in Health, aims to explore the experiences of gay and bisexual men living with hepatitis C and/or HIV, and how hepatitis C and HIV co-infection impact on individuals’ quality of life, on gay communities, and on the practice of corporeal pleasures. This research being undertaken by Dr Max Hopwood and Dr Toby Lea builds on the findings of international epidemiological studies of hepatitis C risk practice.
Consensus, contrast and contradiction in HIV testing and counselling guidance
In many countries, HIV testing efforts are failing to identify HIV infections early enough, and substantial proportions of people with HIV are unaware of their infection.
The Centre in Social Research in Health has been commissioned by HIV in Europe to review testing and counselling guidelines across developed country contexts, empirically assess the extent to which current European practice is aligned with recommendations, and consult with experts to build consensus where HIV testing and counselling guidance is contrasting and contradictory. Incorporating the National HIV Testing Policy v1.3, the study will also examine opportunities to improve Australian HIV testing and counselling policy and practice.
Evaluating sexual health messages at music festivals
Music festivals in Australia typically attract a sub-population of young people that are at high risk of STIs. While music festivals have been extensively used to recruit participants for behavioural surveys, until recently there had been no significant sexual health promotion intervention conducted at music festivals.
During the 2012–2013 music festival season, the first large scale sexual health promotion initiative was implemented by NSW Health. The NSW STI Programs Unit (STIPU) and the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) have come together to empirically assess the impact of this initiative and inform the development of future interventions at music festivals. The project team consists of Brooke Shepherd, Carolyn Murray and Chris Bourne from NSW STIPU and Philippe Adam and John de Wit from CSRH.
HIV Treatment as Prevention study
The concept of ‘treatment as prevention’ is evolving as a strategy for HIV prevention with clinical trial results indicating that antiretroviral therapy reduces a person’s HIV viral load and therefore the potential for transmitting the virus. This has led to calls to change the clinical threshold at which people are recommended to commence treatment, putting people on treatment earlier than previously recommended. While this development has gained support among some within the HIV field, it has not met with universal support.
Notably absent in the debate about the implications of ‘treatment as prevention’ so far has been the opportunity for HIV-positive people to discuss their attitudes, perceptions and feelings about it. This study will address this gap by talking to HIV-positive gay or bisexual men in Sydney to find out what they think about treating people early in order to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. The project will include interviews with HIV-positive gay men to explore their understandings of and feelings about the concept of 'treatment as prevention' and
its perceived impact on their health and wellbeing and that of their peers. This will contribute to our understanding of the education and support needs of HIV-positive gay men in relation to treatment and prevention in this moment of changing policy and strategy.
We are currently recruiting HIV-positive gay or bisexual men, aged 18 years or older, living in Sydney and either on or off HIV drug treatment.