Symposium: Risk, relationships and belonging: social research with couples affected by HIV or hepatitis C (A CSRH case study)

Date: Thursday, 31 March 2016
Time: 3.30 pm – 4.45 pm
Location: Seminar Room 2
Speaker(s): Asha Persson, Christy Newman, Jake Rance, Carla Treloar

Intimate relationships between couples affected by or at risk of acquiring a blood borne infection are framed in public health discourse as sites of transmission risk. However, firsthand accounts from people involved in such relationships are less often documented, despite the importance of these relationships in securing the deep social ties and sense of belonging essential to overcoming stigma and marginalisation. In this CSRH research showcase, findings will be discussed from two major projects aiming to understand the experiences and needs of couples affected by – or considered at risk of acquiring – HIV and hepatitis C.

Asha Persson and Christy Newman will present two papers from You, Me and HIV, the first qualitative study in Australia among gay and straight couples with mixed HIV status, based in Sydney and regional NSW. These papers will explore the innovative ways participants sought to overcome the stigma associated with the HIV ‘sero-divide’, particularly in engaging with new biomedical technologies, and in overcoming constraints on creating and contributing to families.

Jake Rance and Carla Treloar will present two papers from the CUPID (Couples Who Inject Drugs) Project, which included interviews with heterosexual couples who inject drugs from Sydney and Melbourne and sought to overcome the focus on the individual within hepatitis C prevention, given most equipment sharing is known to occur between sexual partners. These papers will focus on how couples who share needle-syringes negotiate safety, along with opportunities to rethink the way harm reduction is conducted in order to better engage couples.