In-person and online event
Kirby Institute, Seminar Room
Level 6, Wallace Wurth Building, Kensington Campus, UNSW Sydney
In 1992, the first in-depth study was set up to explore the ‘event’ that people attributed to their HIV seroconversion. Unique in the world, this study investigated the ways in which people understand and negotiate HIV risk. Over time, studies of HIV seroconversion have identified many important issues, such as the emergence of strategic positioning and serosorting. They have also chronicled, via participants’ accounts, many significant developments in the epidemic, including contemporary antiretroviral-based HIV prevention approaches (notably ‘treatment-as-prevention’ and U=U). This research continues to be important in the current era, for example providing insights into HIV testing patterns, mobility, PrEP, and the negotiation of sexual encounters on digital media apps.
On the 30th anniversary of the first seroconversion study in Australia – and timed to coincide with World AIDS Day – researchers who have been involved in the study over its lifetime will provide reflections on the personal and community impact of the study and its main findings – over each specific era – as well as its impact across the different periods of the epidemic. A representative of NAPWHA will provide a response and perspective on behalf of people living with HIV (PLHIV), and PLHIV community organisations.
*Please note this is a hybrid event with registration options for in-person and online attendance. Drinks will follow after the seminar at 4pm.
Speakers will cover a different period of the study:
Emeritus Professor Susan Kippax
Susan Kippax is a social psychologist and is Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales. She was director of the National Centre in HIV Social Research (NCHSR) from 1995 to 2007. Sue has over 30 years of research experience in the social aspects of health and an extensive track record in sexuality research. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia. She was a founding editor of the journal, Culture, Health & Sexuality and was co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the International Aids Society for 10 years. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2019.
Sue was a principal investigator on the first seroconversion study, the Risk Factors for HIV Infection Study, which commenced in late 1992. She was instrumental in the design of the original study, which focused on understanding the contexts in which gay and bisexual men acquired HIV. Sue continued to lead the qualitive arm of the study until 2006.
Associate Professor Garrett Prestage
Garrett Prestage is a sociologist who undertakes social and behavioural research using both quantitative and qualitative methods. He has worked at the Kirby Institute since 1992. His work is primarily focused on risk behaviour and sexuality, and he is committed to community-based research approaches. Garrett’s research interests include: HIV transmission and prevention among gay men; and the roles of identity and community in understanding how individuals negotiate risk and pleasure in their lives. He has been actively involved in the gay community for over 40 years and has worked in gay community-based research since 1983.
Garrett has been closely involved in HIV seroconversion studies since the first study commenced in 1992, and became the study’s lead investigator in 2008. He also leads the current version of the study, which commenced in 2018, the Recent Diagnosis and the Impact of Support of Experiences of HIV (RISE) Study. He is an investigator on several other studies, including the Gay Community Periodic Surveys, and is currently also leading a study assessing the impact of peer interventions among gay and bisexual men involved in sexualised drug use.
Dr Jeanne Ellard
Jeanne Ellard is an anthropologist with extensive experience conducting research on the social aspects of HIV and viral hepatitis. She has worked in roles in both academia and the community sector. She is currently a research fellow at the Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) La Trobe University.
Jeanne worked as a researcher and interviewer on the Risk Factors for HIV Infection Study from 2001–2006 at the National Centre in HIV Social Research. During this time her analysis of the interview data concentrated on gay men’s relationship negotiations, understandings of risk, and concepts of blame and responsibility. She has continued to be involved in subsequent iterations of seroconversion studies and is currently a member of the advisory group for the RISE Study.
Dr Ian Down
Ian Down is a researcher based at the Centre for Social Impact at UNSW where he is currently working on a range of mixed-method studies. Ian’s research interests are in public health, social justice and working with marginalised groups, and he has previously held positions at the Kirby Institute, the Australian Human Rights Commission and several community organisations.
Ian was a researcher on HIV seroconversion studies from 2009 to 2017. His PhD, titled Experiences of HIV among newly diagnosed men in Australia: Gay community, relationships and connections, was awarded in 2019, and was based on analyses of both quantitative and qualitative data from this study.
Dr Dean Murphy
Dean Murphy is a Research Fellow at the Kirby Institute, UNSW, and at Alfred Health, Central Clinical School, Monash University. His work focuses on understandings of HIV diagnosis, the use of HIV biomedical prevention technologies, experiences of sexual health and well-being, and the meanings of drug consumption among people from LGBTQ communities. Dean has a long background in the HIV sector, having worked at AFAO for many years in HIV health promotion and policy. Since completion of his PhD, Dean has also held research roles at the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, the University of Sydney, and the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University.
Dean was closely involved in the development of the current version of the HIV seroconversion study, the RISE Study, which is funded through an NHMRC Partnership Grant, and since 2018, he has been the senior researcher employed on the study. His analyses have focused on the impact of mobility on continuity of sexual health care, and previous experiences of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among recent serconverters.
Dr John Rule from NAPWHA will provide a response and perspective on behalf of people living with HIV, and PLHIV community organisations.
Dr John Rule
John Rule is the Senior Research Manager at the National Association of People living with HIV Australia (NAPWHA). John has a social science background and has published research in the areas of community development, community education and health systems strengthening. At NAPWHA, John contributes to research data dissemination for PLHIV on a range of research studies and is engaged in the national development of programs for quality PLHIV care. He has worked in Australia and overseas as an advocate for HIV-positive people for over 25 years. He is a person living with HIV who was diagnosed with HIV last century.
Opinions expressed by individuals at this event are solely of those of the individual/s and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Kirby Institute or UNSW.