Our research themes

ARCSHS is an established leader in research into sex and sexuality. Through surveys of the general population, the Centre has helped track patterns and practices during the life course and over time. ARCSHS looks specifically at aspects of health and wellbeing with diverse sexuality and gender minorities, including same-sex-attracted and gender-questioning young people, older people, and the intersection of sexuality with other issues such as disability and mental health.

ARCSHS is one of four national centres funded to undertake strategic research as part of Australia's national response to HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections. This includes research that directly informs indicators in these strategies relating to the quality of life of people living with HIV and sexual health among young people.

The Centre is an important provider of evidence-based training, resources and workforce development programs, particularly in the areas of sexuality education, blood-borne viruses, and LGBTI inclusive practice.

Over the next three years, ARCSHS will maintain and expand the following research themes as areas of established strength:

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex health and wellbeing
  • Blood-borne virus and sexually transmissible infections
  • Gender, sexuality and social theory

In addition, the Centre will seek to develop the following as emerging research themes:

  • School-based sexuality education
  • Sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Policy, community and health services

Working internationally is a feature of much of ARCSHS' research, but particularly in the areas of HIV and viral hepatitis. This will continue to be a focus running through the research themes outlined above.

Research projects

Ansell Sex-Ed


Pamela Blackman

This project supports the maintenance and moderation of a website to support teachers involved in sexuality education. See: ansellsex-ed.com.au

Asia-Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health

Gary Dowsett

APCOM was formed in 2007 as a coalition of community, government and donors to advocate scaling up interventions for men who have sex with men and transgender persons in the region. APCOM is based in Bangkok. Its Social Research Advisory Group was chaired by Gary Dowsett from its inception until May 2015.

Asia-Pacific Viral Hepatitis Policy Survey and Assessment: Taiwan

Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific

Jack Wallace, Marian Pitts, Stephen Locarnini (Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory)

This research described, assessed and analysed the public policy responses to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and liver cancer in Taiwan, with the aim of identifying the successful components of the Taiwanese approach, including existing best-practice and public-policy strengths and challenges. Data for the report was obtained through semi-structured interviews and a review of policy.

Association for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV

Gary Dowsett

ASSHH was formed in 2011 to promote greater inclusion of the social sciences and humanities in HIV and AIDS globally. Gary Dowsett is a founding member, an Academy Member, and a Director of its Board. ASSHH's third biennial conference was held in Stellenbosch in South Africa in July 2015. Gary Dowsett was a conference co-chair.

Australian Contraceptive ChOice PRoject (ACCORd): Increasing the Use of Long Acting Reversible Contraception

National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant

Danielle Mazza (Monash University), Kirsten Black (University of Sydney), Jayne Lucke, Angela Taft (La Trobe University), Kevin McGeechan (University of Sydney), Marion Haas (University of Technology Sydney), Jeffrey Peipert (Washington University, USA)

ACCORd offers GPs across Victoria specialised training in long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). It will recruit 60 GPs to undertake training in 'LARC First' contraceptive counselling and rapid referral for insertion. The study will examine whether improved knowledge and rapid referral increases LARC uptake and reduces unintended pregnancies.

Blood Borne Virus Program: Supporting the HIV and Hepatitis Workforce

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Emily Lenton, Jen Johnson, Jennifer Dixon, Marg Sutherland

The Blood Borne Virus Program works to strengthen the Victorian BBV workforce, and to engage the broader health and community workforce to increase its capacity to respond to BBVs in the wider community.

Closer Look at Private Lives 2, A: Addressing the Mental Health and Well-being of LGBT Australians

beyondblue and the Movember Foundation

William Leonard, Anthony Lyons, Emily Bariola

This project is a second phase of Private Lives 2: The Second National Survey of the Health and Well-being of LGBT Australians. It involved a targeted analysis of the mental health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Australians, with particular focus on psychological distress and resilience in relation to sexual identity, gender identity, age, discrimination, harassment, substance use, community engagement and health service use.

Combating the Rapid Rise of Sexually Transmissible Infections among Older Australians: Improving Safe-Sex Practice and Health, Social and Economic Outcomes

Australian Research Council Discovery Project

Anthony Lyons, Victor Minichiello, Catherine Barrett, Graham Brown, Sharron Hinchliff (University of Sheffield, UK), Jo Root (Council on the Ageing), Briony Dow (National Ageing Research Institute), Bianca Fileborn, Wendy Heywood, Pauline Crameri

This project involves a national survey and face-to-face interviews with Australians aged 60 years and older. It seeks to understand why rates of sexually transmissible infections have risen amongst older Australians by exploring their experiences of sex and relationships, safe-sex practices and knowledge of sexual health.

Communicating with Diversity: Liver Specialists and People with Hepatitis B

Commonwealth Department of Health

Jack Wallace, Elizabeth Smith, Duane Duncan (ARCSHS and the University of New England), Behzad Hajarizadeh, Jacqui Richmond

This project identifies how clinical specialists respond to the cultural diversity of their patients and provide often complex clinical information to people with hepatitis B from culturally diverse backgrounds. Clinical specialists are asked to participate in a ten-minute, semi-structured, telephone interview using a fictional vignette.

Contraceptive Use, Pregnancy Intention and Decisions of Australian Women (CUPID): A Longitudinal Study of Patterns of Contraception Use and Access to Contraceptive Information, Advice and Services for Young Australian Women

Australian Research Council Linkage Project, Family Planning NSW, Bayer Australia

Jayne Lucke, Deborah Loxton (University of Newcastle), Christina Lee (University of Queensland), Annette Dobson (University of Queensland), Ian Fraser (University of Sydney), Edith Weisberg (Family Planning NSW)

This longitudinal study examined patterns of contraceptive use among a national sample of 18-23 year old Australian women. It explored factors associated with unintended pregnancy and the types of contraceptive methods used by women reporting an unintended pregnancy. It also examined access to contraceptive information, advice and services.

Cure Study: Exploring Understandings, Expectations and Experiences of Hepatitis C Treatment and Cure

AbbVie Pty Ltd

Jacqui Richmond, Jeanne Ellard, Jack Wallace, Peter Higgs (Burnet Institute), Margaret Hellard (Burnet Institute), Alex Thompson (University of Melbourne and St Vincent's Hospital)

New treatments are available to cure hepatitis C in 12 weeks with few side-effects. In order to understand the experience of taking these treatments, 20 patients on the new treatment regimens will be interviewed about their experiences in treatment and their expectations of achieving a cure.

Curing Hepatitis C among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: Investigating the Impact of Hepatitis C Cure at the Health Service, Community and Individual Level

Commonwealth Department of Health

Jack Wallace, Jacqui Richmond, Behzad Hajarizadeh

The availability of direct-acting antivirals will have a substantial impact on all people with hepatitis C, including Indigenous Australians living with the infection. This project documents the perspectives of Indigenous health service providers on the barriers and enablers to the hepatitis C cure.

Delivery of National LGBTI Aged Care Training in Victoria, 2014-2016

National LGBTI Health Alliance

Philomena Horsley

This project involves the delivery of one-day national LGBTI awareness training to the Victorian aged care sector – residential and community based services. During 2015, the training included over 520 staff from 130 different organisations.

Does Talking about Sexuality Change the Game?

Victorian Health Promotion Foundation

Gillian Fletcher (La Trobe University)

This research examined the experiences and opinions of sports people within Victoria in relation to sexuality, participation and inclusion. A set of principles of inclusion and participation were developed in collaboration with VicHealth and VicSport.

'Fair Go, Sport!' Phase Two

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Gillian Fletcher (La Trobe University), Lottie Turner

This evaluation of Phase Two of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission project found that much good work was being done, but that greater attention needed to be paid to the action research process.

Fifth National Survey of Secondary Students and Sexual Health

Commonwealth Department of Health

Anne Mitchell, Marian Pitts, Kent Patrick, Wendy Heywood, Pamela Blackman

A national survey of the sexual attitudes, knowledge and experiences of Australian secondary students has been carried out approximately every five years since 1992, each of them funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health. It is a significant source of key information for policy and programming about STIs and other BBVs for young people and contributes to the indicators of the National STI strategy. The fifth iteration of this survey was conducted in 2013, surveying over 2,000 year 10-12 students enrolled in government, Catholic and independent secondary schools in every State and Territory of Australia. A report of the findings targeting teachers, health care workers and policy makers was released in early 2014. Findings from the study are now being turned into academic journal articles examining topics such as 'sexting' and students experiences of sexuality education at school.

Following Lives Undergoing Change (Flux Study)

National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant

Garrett Prestage (ARCSHS and the Kirby Institute), Louisa Degenhardt (National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre), Fengyi Jin (the Kirby Institute), Jeffrey Grierson (Anglia Ruskin University, UK), Toby Lea (the Kirby Institute)

The Flux study sought to identify contextual and individual factors associated with uptake and recreational use of drugs, particularly those identified as being associated with HIV risk behaviour and HIV infection, among gay and bisexual men, and associations with risk behaviours over time. Over 2,000 gay and bisexual men have completed an online questionnaire about their drug use, and over 1,700 consented to six-monthly follow-up assessment.

From Blues to Rainbows: The Mental Health and Well-being of Gender Diverse and Transgender Young People in Australia


Lynne Hillier, Anne Mitchell, Elizabeth Smith, Tiffany Jones (ARCSHS and the University of New England), Jennifer Dixon, Roz Ward

This mixed-methods study explored the mental health and well-being of gender diverse and transgender young people (14 – 25 years) in Australia. Main findings included: the degree of gender and sexuality diversity among the participants, the high levels of engagement with activism, and the protective role that teachers can play.

GLBTIQ People's Participation in Cervical Cancer Screening

Cancer Council Victoria (PapScreen)

Sue Dyson, Elizabeth Smith

This project surveyed gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people's participation in Pap testing in Victoria.

Healthy Equal Youth Project: A Victorian Same-Sex Attracted and Sex and Gender Diverse Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

William Leonard

The HEY Project aims to reduce self-harm and suicide among SSASGD young people and improve their mental health and well-being. The Project provides funding for ten agencies, each of which has particular expertise and experience in working with, and on behalf of, SSASGD young people. HEY is jointly managed by GLHV and the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria.

Healthy Minds: The HIV and Mental Health Study

Commonwealth Department of Health

Anthony Lyons, Wendy Heywood

This project involves an in-depth investigation into the mental health of people living with HIV. It provides, for the first time, detailed information on multiple dimensions of mental health and seeks a better understanding of why rates of mental health problems in this population are substantially higher than national averages.

Hepatitis B: Trajectories of Care

Commonwealth Department of Health

Jack Wallace, Elizabeth Smith, Duane Duncan (ARCSHS and the University of New England), Behzad Hajarizadeh, Jacqui Richmond

In this project, people with hepatitis B, general practitioners and practice nurses participated in semi-structured interviews about the process of testing, diagnosis and contact tracing for hepatitis B. This information will be used to improve the diagnostic event for people with hepatitis B and support contact tracing.

Hepatitis C Cure

Commonwealth Department of Health

Jeanne Ellard, Jacqui Richmond, Jack Wallace

This project explores how service providers and policy makers understand the concept of cure in relation to hepatitis C, and investigates the implications of new direct-acting antiviral medication on future models of care and approaches to hepatitis C awareness and prevention. The project includes a systematic review of the Australian and international media and community education materials related to hepatitis C treatment and cure.

HIV and Mobility

Commonwealth Department of Health

Graham Brown, Roanna Lobo (Curtin University), Gemma Crawford (Curtin University)

This multi-sectorial 'Community of Practice for Action on HIV and Mobility' (CoPAHM) was established to respond to HIV infection among mobile populations in Australia. The project included the production of a national report card to assess progress on actions recommended in the earlier report HIV and Mobility in Australia: Road Map for Action.

HIV Cure, An: Ethical and Social Consequences of Cure-focused Research

La Trobe Research Focus Area—Building Healthy Communities

Gary Dowsett, Jayne Lucke, Jennifer Power, Jack Wallace, Jeanne Ellard, Jacqui Richmond, Sharon Lewin (Doherty Institute), Sophie Hill (La Trobe University), Joseph Tucker (University of North Carolina School of Medicine, USA), Sean Slavin (Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations), Aaron Cogle (National Association of People Living with HIV Australia)

The aims of this project are to explore the social, ethical and public health consequences of biomedical research into an HIV cure. The project involves community consultation and interviews, and media content analysis. This project also aligns with HIV Futures 8, which includes a section on attitudes toward HIV cure research.

HIV Futures

Commonwealth Department of Health

Jennifer Power, Graham Brown, Anthony Lyons, Gary Dowsett, Jayne Lucke

HIV Futures is a series of national surveys of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia that has been repeated periodically since 1997. Data were collected for HIV Futures 8 during 2015-16. The survey focuses on psychological and physical well-being of PLHIV, treatment use, relationships, stigma and discrimination.

HIV Seroconversion Study

State and Territory Health Departments

Garrett Prestage (ARCSHS and the Kirby Institute), Ian Down (the Kirby Institute), Jeanne Ellard, Kathy Triffit (the Kirby Institute), Graham Brown

This study provides findings on sexual risk behaviour and other factors associated with HIV seroconversion in Australia. An understanding of those factors associated with HIV infection will lead to improved preventive education. Data collection is now complete. Over 700 individuals recently diagnosed with HIV completed an online questionnaire and over 120 completed an in depth interview.

HookUp Study

NSW Department of Health

Garrett Prestage (ARCSHS and the Kirby Institute)

This was a study of sex work in NSW and Queensland. Over 100 male sex workers completed an online questionnaire and 12 completed an in-depth interview.

If the Shoe Fits: Exploring Footwear Choice and Problems

La Trobe Building Health Communities Research Focus Area

Hylton Menz (La Trobe University School of Allied Health), Rachel Thorpe, Karl Landorf (La Trobe University School of Allied Health), Marian Pitts, Gail Hawkes

This collaboration will explore the relationship of shoes to women's identity over the life span and identify ways to prevent foot problems before they develop in middle and older age.

Improving Access to Optimal Clinical Care for People with Chronic Hepatitis B through the Implementation of a Nurse-led Model of Care

National Health and Medical Research Council Translation of Research into Practice Fellowship

Jacqui Richmond

The implementation phase of this project commenced in June 2015. The project is operating in a community health service. Unexpectedly, there were few patients with hepatitis B and the rate of testing is also low. The focus has now shifted to improving the service workforce's capacity to test people at risk for hepatitis B.

Improving Online Therapy for Mood Disorders among Lesbians and Gay Men


Anthony Lyons, Tomas Rozbroj, Marian Pitts, Anne Mitchell, Marina Carman, Helen Christensen (Black Dog Institute)

This project developed the world's first set of guidelines for making web and app-based therapies for depression and anxiety more inclusive and relevant to lesbians and gay men.

International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society

Ford Foundation and Hivos Foundation

Gary Dowsett

2015 saw a big ARCSHS contingent presenting at 'Literacies and Sexualities in Cultural, Fictional, Real, and Virtual Worlds: Past, Present, Future Perfect?', the X Biennial Conference of IASSCS held in Dublin, 17-20 June. Gary Dowsett chairs the IASSCS' Research and Training Committee.

Intersections of Disadvantage? Gender and Sexuality within Asia-Pacific Community Organisations

La Trobe Research Focus Area—Transforming Human Society

Gary Dowsett, Gillian Fletcher (La Trobe University), Nicola Henry (La Trobe University), Stephen Wood (University of Sussex, UK), Karen Parker, Dion Kagan

This project aimed to generate new knowledge on the intersections of gender, sexuality, other structural and social forces, and disadvantage, working with partner agencies in the Philippines: GALANG, and the Family Planning Organisation.

LifeTimes: A National Cohort Study of HIV and Ageing

Commonwealth Department of Health

Anthony Lyons

This is a longitudinal cohort study. It began in 2010 and has followed an initial cohort of 1,000+ older gay men over five years of annual surveys. It explores issues of ageing and health among older gay men with a focus on those living with HIV.

Liver Health Project, The

Commonwealth Department of Health

Jeanne Ellard, Jack Wallace, Jacqui Richmond, Behzad Hajarizadeh, Gary Dowsett

The number of people with hepatitis C developing advanced liver disease and dying as a result of liver disease continues to increase. The Liver Health Project deepens understandings of the experiences of people with hepatitis C, with interviews designed to identify the rapidly changing treatment environment and shifts in experiences at clinics and with healthcare providers.

Men's Own: Health and Well-being of Young Gay Men Living in Mainland China

Centre for Cultural Diversity and Well-being (Victoria University)

Warwick Hosking (ARCSHS and Victoria University), Anthony Lyons, Dorothy Bruck (Victoria University), Lin Xiong (Victoria University), Li Yinhe (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)

This project involves a national online survey of gay men aged 18-39 years living in Mainland China. It provides first-ever data on numerous aspects of the lives of young Chinese gay men, including sex, relationships, friendships, stigma, social support and health. It provides findings for a cross-cultural comparison with a similar survey that investigators in the team conducted in Australia.

Men's Own: Health Behaviours of Young Australian Gay Men

Commonwealth Department of Health

Anthony Lyons, Warwick Hosking (ARCSHS and Victoria University)

This project explored the health behaviours of gay men aged 18-39 years. It involved a national survey of 1,000+ participants with a 12-month follow-up. The project provided a detailed examination of the lives and lifestyles of young Australian gay men, including physical, mental and sexual health.

Mental Health and Hepatitis B: Building the Evidence

La Trobe Building Healthy Communities Research Focus Area

Jack Wallace, Behzad Hajarizadeh, Jeanne Ellard, Jacqui Richmond, Roslyn Le, S Polis (St George Hospital, Sydney), R Jardin, (Westmead Hospital, Sydney), Helen Tyrrell (Hepatitis Australia)

The project identifies gaps in our understanding of the epidemiology and burden of mental health among people with chronic hepatitis B in Australia, and identifies how hepatitis B mental health issues are understood and addressed by clinical service providers.

Mental Health, Resilience and Sexual Recovery among Gay Men with Prostate Cancer


Gary Dowsett, Garrett Prestage (ARCSHS and the Kirby Institute), Duane Duncan, Daniel du Plooy, Andrea Waling

This study investigated the experiences of Australian gay men and their partners, following a diagnosis of, and treatment for, prostate cancer, in particular focusing on mental and sexual health. The study was funded by beyondblue's National Priority Driven Research Program–Men's Stream (funded by The Movember Foundation), from 2013-2015.

Monopoly Study

National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant

Garrett Prestage (ARCSHS and the Kirby Institute), Duane Duncan (ARCSHS and the University of New England), Jeffrey Grierson (Anglia Ruskin University, UK)

This was a national survey of gay men's relationships. Over 4,000 gay and bisexual men completed an online questionnaire about their relationships.

Muscling Up: Australian Men, Sexualisation and Body Image Enhancement

Australian Research Council Discovery Project

Gary Dowsett, Duane Duncan, Steven Angelides, Andrea Waling, Andrew Westle

This study focuses on men's views on male body image and the social pressures for bodily development based upon appearance. The study uses interviews and focus groups to examine how male bodies are represented in popular culture and the ways in which men's sexuality and appearances are changing.

National Viral Hepatitis Needs Assessment: China

Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia-Pacific

Jack Wallace, Marian Pitts, Lai Wei (Peking University People's Hospital, China), Vivien Lin (La Trobe University), George Liu (La Trobe University), Jacqui Richmond, Behzad Hajarizadeh

China has the largest absolute number of people in the world infected with viral hepatitis. This project aimed to document the personal impact of viral hepatitis by interviewing people with chronic viral hepatitis in four Chinese cities during April 2014 and key service providers, with findings reviewed to identify key issues, concepts and themes.

Older Women's Right to be Safe at Home and in Care

Victorian Women's Trust

Bianca Fileborn, Catherine Barrett, Sue Hendy (Council on the Ageing, Victoria)

This project utilises case studies from aged care service providers (home and residential aged care) to provide exemplar strategies and a road map for prevention to respond to allegations of sexual assault.

Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice: Legal Responses to 'Gay Conversion' Therapy

La Trobe Research Focus Area—Transforming Human Societies

Timothy Jones, William Leonard, Anna Brown (Human Rights Law Centre)

This project explores the history, prevalence and nature of the ex-gay movement in Australia. Ex-gay therapy is a counselling practice aimed at making lesbian and gay people 'straight' or, at the very least, assisting them to repress their same-sex attraction. Emerging evidence suggests that ex-gay therapy causes considerable harm to lesbian and gay people; yet, very little is known about its nature, prevalence and potential harms in Australia. In partnership with the Human Rights Law Centre, the project will provide evidence to determine the need for legislative or other measures to inform appropriate regulatory and legal reform in Australia.


Victorian Department of Health

Mark Stoové (Burnet Institute), Graham Brown, Simon Powell (Victorian AIDS Council), David Leitinger (Burnet Institute and Victorian AIDS Council), Alissa Pedrana (Burnet Institute), Anna Wilkinson (Burnet Institute)

PRONTO! is a joint venture of the Victorian AIDS Council and the Burnet Institute to trial a peer-led, community-based, rapid HIV testing service for gay men in Melbourne. ARCSHS collaborates in the trial, supporting the description and evaluation of the innovative peer-led model being developed within the project.

Rainbow Network

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Jami Jones, William Leonard, Lottie Turner

Rainbow Network is a Victorian, state-wide support and capacity-building network for anyone working with same-sex-attracted, intersex, transgender and gender-diverse (SSAITGD) young people. It provides training, resources, a monthly e-bulletin, secondary consultations and professional supervision to individuals and organisations that work with, and on behalf of, SSAITGD young people. The network is funded by the Victorian government as part of the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) Project, a collaboration of ten youth agencies working to improve the health and well-being of SSAITGD young Victorians.

Rainbow Tick Accreditation Program

Licencing agreement with Quality innovation Performance

Pam Kennedy, William Leonard, Sunil Patel, Philomena Horsley

The Rainbow Tick Accreditation Program is a national LGBTI-inclusive accreditation program. The Rainbow Tick comprises six standards against which organisations can be accredited to demonstrate that all their practices, procedures and protocols are LGBTI-inclusive. The Rainbow Tick Standards were developed by Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria in collaboration with Quality Innovation Performance (QIP), a not-for-profit accreditation organisation dedicated to delivering accreditation and support services to a diverse range of organisations. Organisations that gain Rainbow Tick accreditation are listed on a national registry.

Resource Kit Targeting Depression and Anxiety among Older Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Australians


Briony Dow (National Ageing Research Institute), Catherine Barrett, Phil Maude (RMIT), Jean Tinney (National Ageing Research Institute), Carolyn Whyte

This project involved interviews with 30 older LGBTI Australians to document their strategies for promoting their mental well-being.

Safe Schools Coalition Australia

Foundation for Young Australians

Roz Ward, Joel Radcliffe, Melanie Gaylard, Matthew Parsons

This project is aimed at reducing homophobia and transphobia, and increasing the support for gender and sexual diversity in Australian schools. The team works with the Foundation for Young Australians, state partners and schools directly to provide training, resources and consultancy advice.

Safe Schools Coalition Victoria

Victorian Department of Education and Training

Roz Ward, Joel Radcliffe, Melanie Gaylard, Matthew Parsons

This project is aimed at reducing homophobia and transphobia, and increasing the support for gender and sexual diversity in Victorian schools. The team works with the Department of Education to provide advice and policy guidance, as well as with schools directly to provide training, resources and consultancy advice.

Sexual Health and Young Adults (The Friends, Sex and Benefits Project)

Commonwealth Department of Health

Graham Brown, Natalie Hendry, Kylie Johnston, Gary Dowsett

This study focused on the social and cultural contexts of young adults' friendships and relationships, and how these influence their practices in testing for sexually transmissible infections. This study recruited young adults who attended nightlife precincts in Melbourne to participate in a short survey. The findings will guide future research on young adult's sexual health practices.

Sexual Well-being and Ageing: A Study of Older Australian Women

Australian Research Council Discovery Project

Marian Pitts, Victor Minichiello, Gail Hawkes

This study addresses important issues of ageism and sexism that together affect older women's health and well-being. The findings will inform the link between ageing, sexuality and more general dimensions of health and well-being, and advance our understanding of issues central to policy and services for older Australians.

Shouting Back: Exploring Street Harassment Victim's Justice Needs and Justice Responses

La Trobe Research Focus Area—Transforming Human Societies

Bianca Fileborn

This project explores street harassment victims' justice needs and their preferred justice responses. Given the dearth of research on street harassment in Australia, this research also seeks to explore participants' experiences of street harassment and the ways in which these experiences are shaped or informed by gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

Sin and Silence: Changing Theological Approaches to Clerical Child Sex Offenders

Australian Research Theology Foundation

Timothy Jones, Kate Davison

This project is investigating developments in theological understandings of clerical sex offenders during the twentieth century. The project aims to expand understanding of the ways religious understandings of sex crimes influenced the churches responses to allegations of child sex abuse. In particular, it seeks to reveal how silence on child sex offending was produced and perpetuated.

Something for Them: Addressing the Needs of Same-sex-attracted and Sex and Gender Diverse Young People who are Newly Arrived, Refugees or Asylum Seekers

Asia Altman Sub-fund, Australian Communities Foundation

William Leonard, David Mejia-Canales

This project builds on the recommendations of an earlier pilot project, Nothing for Them (2014), which aimed to understand the support needs of SSASGD young people who are newly arrived, refugees or seeking asylum. Stage two of the project, Something for Them, relies on reviews of the legal and social standing of newly arrived SSASGD young people in their countries of origin and Australia's obligations towards refugees and asylum seekers under international law. The project's key findings and recommendations will be published in a community report in 2016.

Strengthening Community Responses to Hepatitis B

Australian Research Council Linkage Project

Marian Pitts, Jack Wallace, Alex Thompson (University of Melbourne), Jacqui Richmond, Helen Tyrrell (Hepatitis Australia), Enaam Oudih (Relationships Australia SA), Levinia Crooks (Australasian Society for HIV Medicine), Kerry Paterson (Hepatitis SA), Alison Coelho (Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health), Melanie Eagle (Hepatitis Victoria), Chris Enright (Cancer Council of Victoria)

Chronic hepatitis B is a national public health problem, disproportionately affecting Australians born in countries of high prevalence such as China, Vietnam and the Sudan. This project identifies how people with hepatitis B from these communities understand and respond to the infection.

Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People

Commonwealth Department of Social Services

Catherine Barrett, Pauline Crameri, J. R. Latham, Carolyn Whyte, Sally Lambourne (Alzheimer's Australia NSW)

This grant was provided to develop a range of activities to support LGBTI inclusive aged care services in Australia. The projects involved partnerships with key stakeholders and developing evidence bases on the experiences and needs of older LGBTI people. The projects completed as part of this program included: 'We are still gay', a study exploring the experiences and needs of LGBT people living with dementia in partnership with Alzheimer's Australia; 'We are people first': trans health and ageing, a study in partnership with Transgender Victoria, the Gender Centre NSW and FTM Shed; 'An extra degree of difficulty', a study exploring the experiences and needs of older LGBTI carers and the carers of older LGBTI people, in partnership with Carers Australia. As well as, 'As we age', an evidence-based guide to intersex ageing and inclusive services, in collaboration with Organisation Intersex International Australia; 'Operation LOLA': Linking Older LGBTI and their Allies, in partnership with COTA Victoria; 'On the same page', a project looking at the influence of staff values and beliefs on LGBTI inclusive aged care services; and the 2nd Val's Café National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference.

Talking Sexual (and Reproductive) Health – Part 2

Commonwealth Department of Health

Anne Mitchell, Jenny Walsh

Using the results of the Secondary Students and Sexual Health Survey (see above) completed in 2013, this project developed teaching resources to support the sexual health component of the Australian Curriculum in Health and Physical Education. Stage two focused on lesson plans and resources for teaching year 7 and 8 students.

Testing and Developing a Community Resilience Tool in Rural Communities

La Trobe Research Focus Area—Building Healthy Communities

Anthony Lyons, Gillian Fletcher (La Trobe University), Amanda Kenny (La Trobe University), Jane Farmer (La Trobe University), Julie Rudner (La Trobe University), Lisa Bourke (University of Melbourne), Kaye Knight (La Trobe University), Kylie Carra (La Trobe University), Emily Bariola

This project developed the first-ever measures for assessing the collective resilience of groups and communities. Measures were developed in a national survey and then pilot-tested to assess collective resilience in a rural town in Western Victoria.

Val's Café

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Pauline Crameri, Catherine Barrett, Carolyn Whyte

Val's Café seeks to promote healthy ageing pathways and improve the health and visibility of older LGBTI Australians by facilitating a network of nearly 600 health and aged care service providers, older LGBTI people and community members. Val's Café provides evidence-based information to inform improvements in policy, service delivery and the lives of older LGBTI people.

What Does It Take? Developing Informed and Effective Tertiary Responses to Violence and Abuse for Women and Girls with Disabilities in Australia

Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS)

Patsie Frawley (Deakin University), Sue Dyson, Sally Robinson (Southern Cross University)

This two-year national project will investigate models of service for women with disabilities who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault. The mixed-methods research will result in an in-depth understanding of current mainstream and specialist approaches, and guidelines for best practice for women with disabilities seeking support to leave family or domestic violence.

What Works and Why (W3) Project: Understanding What Works and Why in Peer-based Health Promotion Approaches in HIV and Hepatitis C

Commonwealth Department of Health

Graham Brown, Daniel Reeders, Annie Madden (Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League), Gari-Emma Perry (WA Substance Users Association), Rob Lake (Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations), Colin Batrouney (Victorian AIDS Council), Aaron Cogle (National Association of People Living with HIV Australia), Brent Allan (Living Positive Victoria), Craig Cooper (Positive Life NSW), Simon O'Connor (Queensland Positive People), Janelle Fawkes (Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Worker Association)

The W3 Project collaborates with peer-based programs in community organisations to trial the application of 'systems thinking' and 'quality improvement approaches' to understand and demonstrate the role and impact of peer-based programs. Partners include peer and community-based organisations working with people who use drugs, sex workers, people living with HIV, and gay men in the response to HIV and hepatitis C.

Whose Family Values? The New Christian Right and Sexual Politics in Postsecular Australia

Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Timothy Jones, Keir Wotherspoon

This project is investigating how the resurgence of the Christian Right in Australia since the 1960s has influenced understandings of religion, love and sex. In doing so, it is combatting the usually neglected place of religion in contemporary Australian history and analysing the historically contingent nature of the relationship between religious and sexual discrimination.

Women's Health West United Project Evaluation

Women's Health West

Sue Dyson, Elizabeth Smith

This project evaluated the United project intervention in 14 local government and community health services in the west of Melbourne during 2012-2015.

Work, Women and the Menopause: A Pilot Study

La Trobe Research Focus Area—Building Healthy Communities

Gavin Jack (Monash University), Marian Pitts, Jan Schapper (La Trobe University), Kat Riach (Monash University), Emily Bariola, Phil Sarrel (Yale University, USA)

The project aims to establish whether and how symptoms of the menopause affect working women and to identify strategies at both the individual and the organisational level for successful transition and management of the menopause within the workplace. Data were collected from female employees in three universities in Victoria, using interviews and an online survey in 2014. The writing of journal articles is in progress.

Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria

GLHV is part of ARCSHS and is funded by the Victorian government. GLHV's mission is to promote the health and well-being of LGBTI Victorians and improve the quality of care they receive.

The past year has seen growth in all of GLHV's programs and the development of pilot projects in the areas of family violence, religious and cultural diversity and disability. GLHV has: increased its research and publications; delivered new LGBTI training into the university, aged care and local government sectors; partnered in the production of new youth and education resources; and participated in and on an increasing number of advisory bodies.

Research and Publications

GLHV has been involved in:

  • A Closer Look at Private Lives 2: Addressing the Mental Health and Well-being of LGBT Australians, funded by beyondblue and the Movember Foundation
  • Something for Them: Addressing the Support Needs of Same-sex-attracted and Sex and Gender Diverse (SSASGD) Young People who are Newly Arrived, Refugees or Asylum Seekers, funded by the Asia Altman Sub-fund, the Australian Communities Foundation
  • Australians Born with Congenital Variations in Sex Characteristics (Intersex/DSD/Hormonal, Chromosomal or other Biological Variations/Conditions) 2015, led by Tiffany Jones, and funded by the University of New England
  • Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice: Legal Responses to 'Gay Conversion' Therapy, funded by La Trobe University and run in collaboration with the Human Rights Law Centre.

Resources and Training


GLHV's LGBTI health information and research clearinghouse is used by individuals, policy makers, academics and health care providers. In 2015, it averaged 1,600 unique hits per month.

Young People

GLHV and the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic) manage the HEY Project. The project includes a consortium of 11 organisations and aims to improve the mental health and well-being of SSASGD young people in Victoria. In 2015, GLHV and YACVic successfully lobbied government for a renewal of HEY funding.

The Victorian State government committed a further four years funding to Safe Schools Coalition Victoria (SSCV) to make the program available to all publicly funded secondary schools in Victoria by 2019. SSCV is part of the national program managed by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). SSCV has worked with FYA to design new resources and provide training to the partner agencies in the other States and Territories. SSCV has worked with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to review its LGBTI related policies and with FYA to develop All of Us, a national resource that promotes discussion of sexual identity and gender identity diversity. In 2015, SSCV provided professional development to 4,243 school staff and distributed over 15,000 resources to students and staff.

Rainbow Network (RN) provides information, training and support for people who work with SSASGD young people in Victoria. RN partnered with the Victorian AIDS Council and beyondblue to deliver a lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) women's health conference, produced a guide for working with trans and gender diverse young people, and supported the growth of regionally based Q-groups. RN is partnering with the Zoe Belle Gender Collective and SSCV to build the SSASGD-capacity of organisations in rural and regional Victoria, and with 'headspace' to develop a community of practice addressing SSASGD young people's mental health. RN membership grew to 638 in 2015, an increase of 189.

LGBTI Ageing

GLHV and Transgender Victoria (TGV) continued the Victorian roll-out of the national LGBTI aged care training, LGBTI Diversity in Aged Care. The training is funded by the Commonwealth government and managed by the National LGBTI Health Alliance. In 2015, GLHV delivered the training to 525 staff in over 130 aged and community care organisations in Victoria. TGV and GLHV also co-delivered LGBTI-inclusive aged care training to nearly 100 assessors from the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.

In November Val's Café returned to GLHV where it will continue to increase the visibility of older LGBTI people and promote LGBTI-inclusive age and community care.

New and Emerging Areas

In 2015, GLHV delivered generic LGBTI training to over 300 people from 19 health and human services organisations in Victoria. GLHV also developed training modules in a number of new sectors including: a Drug and Alcohol e-module in partnership with the University of Melbourne and Turning Point; an LGBTIQ in a disaster-training module in partnership with Women's Health Goulburn North East; and Living LGBTI: La Trobe University Ally Training, delivered to over 65 people at La Trobe and Melbourne universities.

Rainbow Tick Program

GLHV has developed the Rainbow Tick Program in partnership with Quality Innovation Performance (QIP), a not-for-profit, national accreditation body. The program promotes LGBTI-inclusive service provision by training health and human services staff and assisting organisations to prepare for Rainbow Tick accreditation. The Rainbow Tick comprises six LGBTI-inclusive practice standards against which services can be accredited by QIP. QIP has created a national registry of Rainbow Ticked agencies, which includes organisations in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

HOW2 Program

The HOW2 Program focuses on organisational systems and culture change, and comprises four five-hour sessions run over six months. The HOW2 Program provides participants with indicators against which they gauge how their organisation is faring against six LGBTI-inclusive practice standards. In 2015, GLHV delivered the HOW2 Program to 16 people from six different organisations.

Training QIP Assessors and Staff

Stephen Clark, CEO of the AGPAL Group of Companies that includes QIP, made a Change Day pledge to promote the Rainbow Tick and ensure all QIP staff received LGBTI training. GLHV, in partnership with QIP, delivered a two-day intensive training session to QIP assessors to develop their Rainbow Tick assessment skills. In December, GLHV ran two LGBTI-inclusive practice training sessions for nearly 60 QIP staff from around Australia.

National Conferences and Forums

GLHV was well represented at 'Health in Difference 2015', the 9th National LGBTI Health and Well-being conference held in Canberra and run by the National LGBTI Health Alliance. GLHV presented papers on: LGBTI-inclusive aged and palliative care; barriers to the delivery of the Safe Schools program; and the support needs of newly arrived SSASGD young people.

GLHV also presented at a number of national and international conferences and forums, including the International Medicine in Addictions Conference, the LBQ Women's Health Conference, the Human Rights Art and Film Festival, the National Safe Schools Symposium, and the Australian Association of Gerontology's 48th Annual Conference.

GLHV partnered with the Victorian State government to host a forum on sexuality and disability at the Wheeler Centre. The forum was led by LGBTIQ people living with disabilities and was hosted by Rowena Allen, Victoria's Sexuality and Gender Commissioner. GLHV presented disability data from Private Lives 2 in the morning session.

Advisory Bodies and Policy Submissions

In 2015, GLHV was represented on: Victoria Police's External Education Advisory Group and LGBTI Portfolio Reference Group; the Victorian government's LGBTI Task Force and 'What's Important to YOUth' Sector Reference Group; and the Minister-led roundtable discussions on family violence.

GLHV made submissions to, and was invited to appear before, the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Senate Inquiry into the matter of a popular vote on marriage equality in Australia.

Other Activities

GLHV was part of a consortium, led by the Yarra Glen Football Netball Club, which won the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation's Building Health through Sports Award for the Pride Cup. The Pride Cup recognises and celebrates diversity in sport and promotes participation of LGBTI people and communities.

In June, the Australian Human Rights Commission released Resilient Individuals: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Rights. The report documents ongoing human rights abuses against LGBTI Australians and uses GLHV/ARCSHS research findings and profiles SSCA and the Rainbow Tick Program.

Blood borne virus program

The Blood Borne Virus Program at ARCSHS focuses on education and liaison around Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) which include HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

The BBV Program is coordinated by Emily Lenton and Jen Johnson. Their responsibilities include the organising and facilitation of a range of opportunities for health workers to update knowledge and expand practice skills. This includes specialist training programs, seminars and peer-support forums.

Training in HIV and Hepatitis C Pre and Post Test Discussion

The BBV Program runs the Course in Health - HIV and hepatitis C Testing.

This course is designed for health care workers to equip them for HIV and hepatitis C pre and post test discussion with their patients and clients, in accordance with the 2008 Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Act.

This competency based course is delivered over four days, and held several times each year.

The BBV Program also delivers tailored training BBV testing and in pre and post test discussion, including short courses, refreshers and best practice forums.

Please consult the ARCSHS Events listing for information about upcoming courses and course dates.

BBV News e-bulletin

Access and subscribe to the BBV News e-bulletinThe BBV News e-bulletin is produced every 3 weeks and contains information about HIV and viral hepatitis related research, resources, projects, ideas and services.

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View the BBV News e-bulletin.

BBV Update Forum

BBV Update Forum is a series of seminars on topics related to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Recent topics have included Peer Based Models, BBVs and Women, and Emerging Hepatitis C Treatments.

BBV Networks

The BBV Program coordinates the BBV Workforce Network, a community of practice which provides a forum for information sharing, comment and critique, as well as to create opportunities for collaboration. It also aims to develop and consolidate effective education and health promotion methods, strategies and responses appropriate to work in the BBV sector.


If you would like to discuss the Blood Borne Virus program, email BBV-Program@latrobe.edu.au, or telephone (03) 9479 8715 or 9479 8831.