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CSRH Publications

January 2014

Centre for Social Research in Health  

Dear reader

This is an update of articles and reports recently published by the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) and our project partners.

For further information about CSRH and our activities please go to our website.

Released: January 2014

Young people growing up with HIV

Asha Persson and Christy Newman

Young people growing up with HIV are an emerging sub-population in the global epidemic. The first Australian study to explore the experiences of children and young people with perinatally acquired HIV in Australia has been conducted by the Centre for Social Research in Health in collaboration with the Paediatric HIV Service at the Sydney Children's Hospital. The study includes interviews with young people and their clinicians in paediatric and adult health care settings. A key aim of the study is to understand the issues and challenges facing this population, as well as the clinicians who care for them, as they transition from childhood to early adulthood and from paediatric to adult care. The study is generating unique empirical knowledge, which can contribute to the continued development of service provision and to future research directions in relation to this population in NSW and beyond, knowledge which may also be relevant to understanding children’s experiences of chronic illnesses more broadly.

In the first article to be published from this study, Caring for Underground Kids, we examine the perspectives of the clinicians who work with these young people and compare these with the largely US-based research literature, which typically focuses on dysfunctions, sexual risks and negative public health outcomes in this population. We show that although the clinicians we interviewed raised many of the same issues found in the US literature, there was far greater emphasis on the well-being of their young clients and on the social complexities and impact of their condition, providing a narrative that departs from the usual framing of young people growing up with HIV. We conclude that future research could usefully contribute to a richer understanding of these young people by focusing on stories of success, survival and resilience. A second paper is now in press, also reporting on our interviews with clinicians, but focused on the challenges of transition into adult care. A further two publications are currently in progress, reporting key findings from the interviews conducted with young people with perinatally acquired HIV.

Click the following link to contact Dr Asha Persson



Persson, A., Newman, C., & Miller, A. (2014). Caring for ‘underground’ kids: qualitative interviews with clinicians about key issues for young people growing up with perinatally acquired HIV in Australia. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth. Advance online publication.

Newman, C. E., Persson, A., Miller, A., & Cama, E. J. (in press). Bridging worlds, breaking rules: clinician perspectives on transitioning young people with perinatally acquired HIV into adult care in a low prevalence setting. AIDS Patient Care and STDs.

Released: January 2014

HIV and sexual health in Uganda

Stephen Bell and Peter Aggleton

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have a key role to play when working with young people in resource poor countries such as Uganda. This two-year in-depth study conducted in three rural areas of Uganda aimed to identify how NGO-led HIV prevention and sexual health programs can be improved through better understanding of young people’s local realities.

Research findings highlight young women’s economic insecurity, the impact of this on sexual decision making and practices, and implications for the design of future youth sexual health programs. Findings show how vulnerability arises from economic insecurity and difficulties encountered in trying to earn a living. This is compounded by lack of communication between young people and parents. Young women especially find it difficult to promote their sexual and reproductive health. With few economic opportunities available, some girls may exchange sex for money, gifts or other forms of material reward, finding themselves vulnerable to unplanned, unwanted and early pregnancies, as well as lack of condom use and forced sex.

For future success, sexual health programs with young people should engage more directly with economic insecurity and the role that the exchange of sex for material rewards plays in support. The paper also points to some of the more regular income generating activities that are common among young people in rural Ugandan communities, as well as the barriers inhibiting both young people’s involvement in these activities.

Whatever approach is used by organisations and groups working with young people, sexual health programs are best designed from a grounded understanding of the way sexual life is currently lived by young people in resource poor rural areas.

Click the following link to contact Dr Stephen Bell



Bell, S. A., & Aggleton, P. (2014). Economic vulnerability and young people’s sexual relationships in rural Uganda. Journal of Youth Studies. Advance online publication. 

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