Keynote Speakers

Emeritus Professor Victor Minichiello, PhD, is a health sociologist and public health researcher that has published widely on topics related to sexualities, sexual health (including HIV), ageism, homophobia, and health care. He currently is the Section Editor of BioMed Central and holds Adjunct Professorial appointments at The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University (ARCSHS), the School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, and the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology. He has recently edited an international landmark book titled Male Sex Work & Society (published by Harrington Park Press/Columbia University Press) that has attracted considerable media attention, and is involved in several international projects that investigate the impact of HIV on children, families and seniors.

Male escorting and creating more healthy opportunities

This paper will review past discourses surrounding the male escort industry, including STI and HIV rates in Australia and around the globe. It will also describe current public health challenges confronting male escorts and clients (mostly middle aged and older men and women) and provide statistics on escorts and clients that challenge assumptions reported in the media or accepted as popular lay stereotypes. In an attempt to change some of the past practices and commonly held societal views about male escorting, the presentation identifies new discourses and innovative ways of structuring male escorting that could enhance paid recreation sex as a professional and wellness service. It will highlight and provide examples of how social media, e-technology, progressive social policies, business and wellness models and new nomenclature to describe paid recreational sex can be used to revolutionise the professional practice of escorting. Finally, the presentation highlights how marginalised groups like those discussed here are affected by issues associated with stigma and discrimination and its impact on HIV prevention and treatment. 

Includes response commentary from Cameron Cox. Cameron has sex worked in diverse locations, situations and differing legislative frameworks in his nearly 40 years of lived experience as a sex worker. He is a current sex worker and is also CEO of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) a community based peer education and support organisation for NSW sex workers. He previously headed SWOP's Male Sex Worker Project. His interests are sex worker health, human rights, and the intersections of the criminalisation sex work and the criminalisation of HIV.


Dr Jo Neale is Reader in Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research based within the National Addiction Centre and working across the Biomedical Research Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW Australia. Jo originally qualified as a social worker and has held positions at the University of Glasgow, the University of York, and more recently Oxford Brookes University UK, where she was Professor of Public Health. Jo has undertaken a range of qualitative and quantitative studies exploring topics relating to both homelessness and addiction. She is the Senior Qualitative Editor and Deputy Commissioning Editor for the international journal Addiction; a member of the editorial board of The International Journal of Drug Policy; a Trustee of the Society for the Study of Addiction; and a member of the expert committee of Action on Addiction.

Marginalisation and belonging in addiction research

In this presentation, Jo will begin by considering findings from three studies that have explored the views and experiences of people with complex drug and alcohol problems. Data indicate that marginalisation and belonging are interconnected rather than discrete states. Terms such as social exclusion, stereotyping, and prejudice help to explain marginalising processes, but mask participants’ heterogeneity, overlook their resources and social capital, and deny the role that individuals play in shaping their own life circumstances. Jo will next reflect on marginalisation and belonging within the research process, again identifying how these two concepts interrelate. The researcher’s use and interpretation of language, ethics, power, theory and service user engagement are shown to be productive of both exclusion and inclusion. Researchers are not completely free to study what they want or how they want. However, in conducting their research, they have the ability to deploy humility, humour and humanity in ways that recognise participant diversity and agency whilst also promoting equality and belonging.

Includes response commentary from Angella Duvnjak. Angella is currently Program Manager for the Hepatitis and other BBVs program at the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL). She has been teaching, researching and publishing in the social sciences and public health over the past 15 years. Angella is also a qualified social worker with a background in women’s health including domestic violence, sexual assault and reproductive health. Her work with AIVL brings together this diverse skill and knowledge base toward the goal of improving the human rights of people who inject drugs and people living with Hepatitis C.