Study processes and outputs

Researchers at the Centre for Social Research in Health, in collaboration with the Social Policy Research Centre and Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, have 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 will be interviewing individuals (n=30) and family members (n=60) 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 (n=20) in the health and social care sectors, alongside a roundtable of health sociology, family/carer studies, and critical health studies researchers, 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 public seminar on what the findings mean for communities 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.


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]