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HIV and Mobility

Globalisation and the diversification of the Australian population, alongside increased mobility and migration has resulted a rise in HIV diagnosis among Australians and their partners, and the need for comprehensive action in this area to combat HIV transmission.

The Western Australia HIV and Mobility Project started in 2013 to respond to this change in HIV epidemiology, and in recognition of the requirement for a more comprehensive and tailored approach to prevention. It aims to understand the unique needs of mobile populations travelling to and from Australia.

Mobile populations move voluntarily or involuntarily from one place to another for a variety of reasons. These may include work, travel, or due to displacement and the move may be temporary, permanent, or constant. Migrant populations are those that undergo a permanent or semipermanent change of residence that result in an alteration to social, economic and/or cultural environments. It is usually the result of people seeking a better life, whether it be through employment, lifestyle, to gain an education or to escape conflict.
To adequately combat the spread of HIV within the Australian population it is essential to recognise the particular risks and challenges faced by migrant and mobile populations, and to promote further understanding of the opportunities for prevention.

HIV and Mobility: Road Map

This document presents five key action areas for HIV and mobility issues in Australia. The report shines a spotlight on the context and types of mobility, differences in HIV diagnoses across Australia relating to migrant and mobile populations and the need for more targeted and nuanced responses. The report provides an implementation plan to operationalise the recommendations of the 7th National HIV Strategy.

Over the past 30 years, Australia has achieved outstanding results through a grass roots response from our communities most affected by HIV, supported by evidence based policy and programs. In the last five to ten years there has been an increase in HIV diagnoses among people and their partners travelling to and from regions of high HIV prevalence; a trend seen globally. Approaches used in the past to reduce HIV transmission need to be adapted to respond to a context where people are more and more mobile. Additionally, current investment in health and support services for mobile and migrant communities is often ad hoc and a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

In 2014 Curtin University in partnership with La Trobe University released HIV and Mobility in Australia: Road Map for Action. The report builds on a range of work conducted around Australia and internationally and is the result of collaboration between the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health (CERIPH), SiREN and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS).

Please click here to view the full report.

Please click here to view the executive summary.

SiREN continues actively contribute to work in HIV and Mobility, the following links provide an overview of current research in this area.

Mobile populations

Exploring the incidence of HIV and STIs acquired overseas, particularly in South- East Asian countries, among male expatriate and long term travelers. This project investigates the influence of social networks and peer education on the reduction of sexual health harms.

Migrant populations

Using a participatory action research methodology, this project will design an intervention to increase HIV testing uptake among women from Indonesia.

A multi-jurisdictional Australian study identifying barriers and facilitators to HIV testing among populations born in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. This study includes the assessment of knowledge and acceptability of emerging testing techniques among migrant populations, and investigating perceived barriers from the perception of clinical health staff and GP’s.

A cross-sectional survey of 209 people born in South-East Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa and residing in WA for less than 10 years, investigating their HIV knowledge and the use of health services.  

A study exploring the barriers and enablers for migrant and mobile populations when accessing sexual health services, and the incidence of stigma and discrimination experienced when engaging in health-seeking behaviors.  

The Sharing Stories project was created to deliver culturally appropriate sexual health education to youth through creative methods such as theater, filmmaking and art. The project was evaluated to investigate the effectiveness of interactive and drama based interventions on sexual health education in CaLD youth.  

Image by: Crawford, G. 2014. ‘Australian travellers, relations and risk: exploring the nexus’ presented at HIV and Mobile Populations Seminar, WA, July 29.

Image by: Crawford, G. 2014. ‘Australian travellers, relations and risk: exploring the nexus’ presented at HIV and Mobile Populations Seminar, WA, July 29.