Publications from the SiREN Team & Members 

Stakeholder perceptions of relationships and sexuality education, backlash and health services in a rural town. This paper examines the provision of youth targeted Relationships and Sexuality Education and sexual health interventions in the rural Australian context by examining the perspectives and experiences of a range of community stakeholders. This study contributes to the limited literature about RSE and has practical implications for rural settings when addressing youth sexual health needs. 

Experiences of stigma and discrimination as predictors of mental health help-seeking among sex workers. This study surveyed sex workers internationally on their perceived experiences of stigma, discrimination, and mental health help-seeking. The study found individual's perceptions of perceived devaluation and discrimination predicted lower past help-seeking from psychiatrists, and that past perceived experiences of stigma and discrimination by mental health professionals significantly predicted a lower likelihood of future help-seeking. Recommendations for future practice include: further developing 'sex worker friendly' referral lists and training for police officers, doctors, and mental health professionals. 


WA Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Strategies 2019-2023. This strategy outlines the guiding principles, goals, targets and priority areas needed for an effective, coordinated and comprehensive state-wide response to the impact of blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections on Aboriginal people in Western Australia (WA).

Australian NSP Survey National Data Report 2014-2018. The Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey (ANSPS) provides prevalence estimates of HIV and hepatitis C as well as sexual and injecting risk behaviour among people who inject drugs in Australia. This national report suggests an overall decline in hepatitis C prevalence. 

Intimate attitudes, practices and knowledges: Chinese-speaking international students in Australia. This summary report from the University of Melbourne and the Burnet Institute details findings from a recent survey aimed at Chinese international students' sexual experiences in order to inform sexual health service provision in Australia. This report is a great resource and reference for future work in this area.

National HIV Quarterly report. This report provides a summary of HIV prevalence across Australia. It addresses the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases notified to health departments and the National HIV registry. 


HIV Matters. In this six-part podcast series, Dr. Ron Falk, from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, chats to HIV specialists about what is the key to living a long healthy life with HIV. Topics each podcast focus on either prevention, care and/or treatment.

Something positive for positive people. This bi-weekly podcast talks to people living with or affected by an STI or BBV. If you're newly diagnosed, this resource aims to connect people who've been willing to share their experience in dating, relationships, disclosure, and managing their health. 

Life with Herpes. This podcast aims to educate, entertain and connect the community of people living with herpes. This weekly podcast focuses on personal stories, managing day-to-day life with herpes, and weekly interviews with medical or industry professionals. 

Journal Articles

AIDS and Behaviour (Volume 23, Issue 5&6)
A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Adherence Interventions for Women Living with HIV. This systematic review and meta-analysis explores the efficacy of women-focused ART adherence interventions. Overall, interventions significantly improved ART adherence compared to control conditions.  Recommendations include: gender-relevant interventions for challenging periods in a woman's life e.g. postpartum; alterations to healthcare systems; and consideration of cultural contexts. 

The Longitudinal Association between Social Support on HIV Medication Adherence and Healthcare utilisation in the Women's Interagency HIV study. This study assessed the longitudinal effects of social support on HIV medication adherence and healthcare utilisation. Perceived emotional support was associated with optimal medication adherence  and healthcare utilisation and tangible social support with adherence only. Interventions need to focus on sustained social support.

Measuring Antiretroviral Adherence among young people living with HIV: Observations from a Real-Time monitoring device versus self-report. This report compares self-reported antiretroviral  therapy (ART) adherence data to adherence data collected via Wisepill (a real-time electronic monitoring device) among young people living with HIV (YPLH). YPLH who were ART-experienced, had lower treatment motivation, and reported more frequent recent marijuana use, had a greater discrepancy between their self reported and electronic monitoring adherence levels compared to other YPLH. The findings from this study provide guidance to health professional to develop effective interventions to improve ART adherence. 

Picture Pill Count: An innovative, reliable, valid and feasible method to measure adherence to ART. This study tested a self-performed picture pill count on a population of HIV positive people living in rural locations. The study found the tool to be a reliable and valid method of measuring adherence. This tool provides an innovative alternative to other more invasive and labour intensive methods of measuring adherence using pill counts. 

Culture, Health & Sexuality (Volume 21, Issue 3)
How do older people discuss their own sexuality? A systematic review of qualitative research studies. This systematic review captured older people's attitudes and concerns about sex and sexuality in later life by synthesising qualitative research published on this issue. Three themes were identified: social legitimacy for sexuality later in life; health, not age, is what truly impacts sexuality, and; the hegemony of penetrative sex. This review  is  a good resource for addressing later life sexuality within social policy, sex education and ageing policies. 

Harm Reduction (Volume 16, Issue 16)
Hiring, training, and supporting Peer Research Associates (PRAs): Operationalizing community-based research principles within epidemiological studies by, with, and for women living with HIV. This paper describes a national approach of hiring, training, and supporting women with HIV, from drug using and non-drug using communities, as PRAs. Research capacity was supported through a comprehensive, multi-phase, and evidence-based experiential training curriculum, with mentorship and support opportunities provided at various stages of the study. The benefits of this approach included building capacity for both PRAs and researchers, recruiting traditionally 'harder-to-reach' study participants, and building strong community partnerships with local and national organisations. 

Introducing hepatitis C virus healthcare pathways in addiction care in the Netherlands with a breakthrough project: a mixed method study. This study appraised  local HCV healthcare pathways, evaluated the number of PWID screened, diagnosed, referred and treated, and identify best practices and barriers to successful participation in a national HCV in Addiction Care  quality improvement project. The project identified several best practices including motivational counseling training, oral swabs for anti-HCV testing, facilitating complementary HCV RNA testing, and supervised hospital visits. This model could be utilised by other addiction care centres that aim to improve local HCV care. 

Journal of Medical Internet Research (Volume 21, Issue 5)
Brief motivational interviewing delivered by clinician or computer to reduce sexual risk behaviours in adolescents: acceptability study. Surveys were administered to clinicians who provide sexual health care to adolescents. They were asked about their current use of motivational interviewing for sexual risk behaviour discussions and their willingness to implement computerized sexual health screening and  sexual risk behaviour interventions. The study found a large majority of clinicians would prefer to implement computerised sexual health screening, risk assessment, and sexual risk behaviour interventions.Computerised interventions could help with time restraints and be an efficient way to consistently discuss sexual health with adolescents when they visit a clinician.

Text messaging to improve linkage, retention, and health outcomes among HIV-positive young transgender women: protocol for a randomized controlled trial (Text Me, Girl!). This study assessed the impact of a text-messaging intervention designed to improve HIV-related health outcomes among young transgender women living with HIV/AIDS. Over the course of the 90-day intervention, participants received 270 theory-based text messages. The study found text messaging is a communication platform well suited for engaging young transgender women in HIV care because it is easily accessible and widely used, as well as private, portable and inexpensive. The text message library is readily scalable and can be adapted for other hard-to-reach populations.

Sex Education (Volume 19, Issue 3)
Engaging young working class men in the delivery of sex and relationships education. This paper presents insights from workshops for boys aged 14-15 in a school.   Student focus groups and interviews with  workshop providers and the school guidance teacher were conducted. The students valued having men from outside school talking to them about sex and relationships in ways that made them feel respected. They were keen to learn more about relationships, highlighting the need to focus on how relationship and sexuality education  is delivered to young working class men.

Sexual Health (Volume 16, Issue 3)
ADOPTing a new method of partner management for genital chlamydia in New South Wales: findings from a pilot implementation program of patient-delivered partner therapy. This paper describes a pilot implementation program of patient-delivered partner therapy and discusses the projects success through a close collaboration of researchers, regulators, policy makes and clinicians. Implementation into general practice is recommended.

Recruiting people with HIV to an online self-management support randomised controlled trial: barriers and facilitators. This study evaluated factors associated with the recruitment of people with HIV and their doctors to the HealthMap trial (an online self-management program). The study found clinical recruitment was strongly associated with an existing relationship between site staff and study investigators. This study suggests early and robust engagement with site staff may help increase enthusiasm and build engagement for technology-based interventions. 

Tackling the uptake of outcomes of hepatitis B virus testing using laboratory data in Victoria, 2011-2016: a population-level cohort study. This study describes hepatitis B testing and positivity trends in Victoria using data from a national laboratory sentinel surveillance system. The study found that the number of HBsAg positive tests decreased slightly each year between the reporting period, whereas the number of guideline-based hepatitis B tests increased. This study suggests ongoing collection of testing data can help monitor progress towards implementation of the Victoria Hepatitis B strategy. 

Perceptions of people who inject drugs towards HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis in Australia. This study  used a cross-sectional survey to collect data on demographics, perceived risk of HIV and willingness to use PrEP among PWID in Sydney. Only a small number of HIV-negative participants were eligible for PrEP under current guidelines for injecting reasons alone. Although PrEP will benefit a small proportion of PWID, this may equate to a significant number nationally. 

Sexually Transmitted Infections (Volume 95, Issue 3)
Increasing proportion of herpes simplex virus type 1 among women and men diagnosed with first-episode anogenital herpes: a retrospective observational study over 14 years in Melbourne, Australia. This paper discusses a retrospective review of the medical records of patients who were diagnosed with first episode of anogenital HSV infection at the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre. The study found HSV-1 has significantly increased in women.  Younger age (<28 years) was an independent risk factor for HSV-1 in all groups. HSV-1 has become the leading cause of anogenital herpes in younger populations, women and MSM.