What next? Making a difference for families and communities

Stream: Understanding the family life of transmissible infections
Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 3.45 pm – 5.05 pm


As the management of blood borne viruses undergoes rapid change, the families of those affected by HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are also living through and responding to those changes. Yet both health and social policy responses have remained largely focused on the individual, with less known about the role and experiences of families. The ‘my health, our family’ study was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant, bringing together expertise in the social aspects of infectious disease and on care, families, and social policy. This qualitative study was the first to document the stories of Australian families affected by stigmatized transmissible infections, and to gather the insights of stakeholders working in health and social policy. This symposium will feature a series of presentations from members of the research team who will each discuss a number of key findings with the aim of extending understandings of how serodiscordance (i.e., mixed infection status) is enacted and managed in everyday family life. We also aim to build policy and practice recommendations for how knowledge about the family life of transmissible infections can inform the design and delivery of services, and to deepen knowledge on how contemporary families are constructed in the context of health and illness. To facilitate discussion, the session will be streamed online, so community members, policymakers and clinicians located in different parts of Australia can take part, to help us ensure that the study can make valuable and enduring contributions to both health and social policy.


Joanne Bryant (Presenter), Centre for Social Research in Health
Joanne Bryant is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Social Research in Health in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW. She is a social scientist trained in sociology and epidemiology, and has led a range of impactful research projects focusing on harm reduction, hepatitis C, substance use and sexual health. Her work focuses specifically on people who inject drugs, populations of vulnerable young people including street-involved youth and Indigenous youth. Joanne has published over seventy peer review papers and ten technical monographs. She is an investigator on competitive research grants from the Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council, among others, and she has recently completed a term as Joint Editor-in-Chief of the peer-review journal Health Sociology Review.