Study processes and outputs

Researchers at the Centre for Social Research in Health, in collaboration with the Social Policy Research Centre and The Burnet Institute, received funding from the Australian Research Council to conduct a three-year Discovery Project (DP160100134) to document – for the first time – firsthand accounts of what serodiscordance (mixed infection status) in the context of everyday family life.

We have interviewed individuals with direct lived experiences, and family members of people with those direct lived experiences, to understand what families mean in the context of stigmatised infectious disease, what stigmatised infectious diseases mean in the context of everyday family life, and how to build on the contributions of families to enhance the prevention, management and treatment of these infections.

Drawing on further interviews with stakeholders in the health and social care sectors, we will also build a critical theory of serodiscordance in order to extend beyond a biomedical focus on individual health and transmission risk in couples to encompass a broader and more relational understanding of wellbeing.

In addition to academic publications, we will produce a research report and summary and host a webinar on what the findings mean for communities and services in the final year of the study. Policy and practice recommendations will focus on improving the experience of diagnosis, treatment and care for individuals and families, and challenging the silence and stigma that continue to be associated with these infections. All study activities will be conducted in consultation with an advisory committee of peak NSW organisations working to promote the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and/or family wellbeing.


Drysdale, K., Newman, C.E., Persson, A., Gray, R.M. (2020) Mapping experiences of serodiscordance: using visual methodologies to construct relationality in families living with or affected by stigmatised infectious disease. Qualitative Health Research, 30(5): 793-808.

Persson, A., Newman, C.E., valentine, k., Hamilton, M., Bryant, J. & Wallace, J. (2019) The embodied relationality of blood-borne viruses: How families matter in the context of a stigmatised viral infection. Published online in Social Science & Medicine on 22 October 2019.

Hamilton, M., Botfield, J., Persson, A., Newman, C.E., Bryant, J., valentine, k., Wallace, J. (2018) Hidden carers? A scoping review of the needs of carers of people with HIV in the contemporary treatment era. International Journal of Carers and Caring, 2(4): 529-549.

Persson, A., Newman, C., Hamilton, M., Bryant, J., Wallace, J., valentine, k.  (2017) Families living with blood-borne viruses: the case for extending the concept of “serodiscordance”. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases. Volume 2017, Article ID 4352783, 10 pages. [Free access]

Persson, A; Smith, A; Wallace, J; valentine, k; Bryant, J; Hamilton, M, Newman, C. (2020) Understanding “risk” in families living with mixed blood-borne viral infection status: The doing and undoing of “difference”. Published online in in Health on 1 August 2020.

Newman, C.E., Persson, A, Ellard, J. (2018) When HIV figures in family life: exploring the relational reach of serodiscordance. Published online in Sexuality and Culture on 5 July 2018.

Newman, C. (2018) Queer families: valuing stories of adversity, diversity and belonging. Published online in Culture, Health and Sexuality on 31 May 2018.

Newman, C., Persson, A., Bryant, J. (2016) My health, our family: documenting stories of family life in the context of HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis. Annual Report of Trends in Behaviour 2016: HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia, Centre for Social Research in Health: 79-80.

valentine, k., Persson, A., Newman, C., Hamilton, M., Bryant, J., Wallace, J. (2020) Experience as evidence: the prospects for biographical narratives in drug policy. Published online in Contemporary Drug Problems on 10 April 2020.


We have presented findings from the study at the following conferences:

  • AIDS Impact, London (July 2019)
  • Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science: TRANSnational STS, Sydney (Aug 2018)
  • Australian Social Policy Conference, Sydney (September 2019)
  • Australasian HIV Conference, Perth (September 2019), Sydney (September 2018), Canberra (November 2017)
  • Australasian Sexual Health Association Conference, Perth (September 2019)
  • Carers NSW 2018 Biennial Conference (October 2018)
  • Contemporary Drug Problems Conference, Prato (September 2019)
  • Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference, Shanghai (Aug 2018)
  • International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, Brisbane (May 2019)
  • In Sickness and in Health Conference, Sydney (April 2018).
  • IUSTI Asia Pacific Congress, Auckland (November 2018)
  • Migration, Health and Wellbeing conference, Otago (November 2019)
  • The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Conference, Sydney (November 2019)

We have also presented feedback sessions to the following services:

  • Sydney Sexual Health Clinic
  • Kirketon Road Centre
  • Carers NSW Strategic Carers Network