the serodiscordant couples study

About this study

This is a qualitative study for gay and hetero­sexual people who are in an intimate relationship with someone who does not have the same HIV status as they do (serodiscordance, pos/neg). The study aims to understand the everyday experiences and challenges of being in a relationship with mixed HIV statuses. This information will help to identify the needs of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative partners and will assist in the development of policy and health promotion for people in serodiscordant relationships in New South Wales.

Participating in the study

Be part of the first major study on the experiences of serodiscordant couples. We are looking for both gay men and heterosexual men and women who are in a relationship with someone who has a different HIV status, who have been sexually active in the relationship, and who live in Greater Sydney or the Central Coast, the Hunter / Newcastle area, or the Northern Rivers region. Both partners can participate in the study but will be interviewed separately.

A confidential interview will be arranged and we will talk to you about a range of issues related to your social, emotional and sexual experiences of living in a serodiscordant relationship. We will also talk to you about your opinions, knowledge and practice in relation to the prevention and management of HIV in your relationship. We use an in-depth interview format, allowing participants to thoroughly explore these issues and tell their story in their own way. The interview will take about 1-2 hours to complete and will be held at a time and place that is convenient to you.

Why participate?

Your participation will contribute to new and significant knowledge about the experiences and needs of couples with mixed HIV status, which can inform or strengthen existing service design and delivery for this population. In addition, making a decision to participate in research and having one's story validated can be a positive experience for some people who live with a stigmatised condition such as HIV.


Reimbursement for any out-of-pocket expenses in relation to participating in the interview (such as travel costs) and time spent will be made available to all participants ($50). You may elect to donate your reimbursement to the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.


Feedback on results from the project will be provided through Research feedback under Useful links.

Project partners

The Centre for Social Research in Health (UNSW) is conducting this study in collaboration with The Kirby Institute (UNSW); Positive Life NSW; the Australian Research Centre in Sexuality, Health & Society (La Trobe University); the Heterosexual HIV Service (Pozhet); the Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service; and ACON.


The study has been approved by the UNSW Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number HC12627), and is being funded by NSW Health and the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

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