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Welcome from the Director

Upcoming Events

Research: Strengthening Community Responses to Chronic Hepatitis B

Opinion: Volunteering

Resource: Ask Grandad

Latest News

Our People: Bianca Fileborn

Honour Roll

Research Participants Needed

Recent Publications

ARCSHS in the Media

Off to a great start

Welcome to the Easter edition of the ARCSHS quarterly e-newsletter.

Over the past three months there's been a huge range of wonderful and diverse work carried out under the ARCSHS umbrella, and there are some exciting projects on the horizon with plenty of opportunities for public participation.

We were thrilled to see our very own Emeritus Professor Anne Mitchell AO inducted into the 2015 Victorian Honour Roll of Women. We've shed a light on some of her many achievements in this quarter's newsletter. Have a read here.

Another notable achievement is the successful release of our 'Ask Grandad' sex-education kit - created in partnership with Ansell Healthcare and EntertainThinkInspire. We hope you enjoy reading about it.

The team at ARCSHS would like to wish you a safe and happy Easter and again, thank you for your contribution to - and interest in - our work.

Warm regards,

Professor Jayne Lucke
Director, ARCSHS


ARCSHS Course: HIV and Hepatitis C Pre- and Post-Test Counselling

This comprehensive 4.5 day accreditation program equips participants with the skills to engage in pre and post HIV and hepatitis C antibody test discussion and prevention education.This course meets the requirements of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

Date: The full course is available three times in 2015 (June, August & November)
Location: 215 Franklin St, Melbourne 3000
Cost: $790
Details and bookings: Visit the ARCSHS website or email Emily Lenton

Blood Borne Virus Forum
New approaches to peer based models: Perspectives from across the BBV sector

This full-day forum showcases a selection of new peer based approaches to working in the Victorian blood borne virus sector. This forum aims to open up a discussion on a variety of approaches, the scope of peer work, and ways to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

A discussion report will capture the nuanced reflections of new peer based approaches in the community health sector.

Date: 13 May 2015, 10am-3.30pm
Location: 215 Franklin St, Ground Floor, Room 104
Details and bookings: email Jen Dixon
Lunch will be provided - please advise of any dietary requirements.

Conference of the Association for the Social Sciences and Humanities in HIV (ASSHH)

Join us at the 3rd ASSHH Conference to discuss and explore new and creative ways of thinking about the HIV epidemic.

Themes include:

- (Re)-writing the history of AIDS
- Cultural and media representations

- Sexual orientation and gender identity
- Power, politics and resistance and much more.

Date: 6-9 July 2015
Location: Stelenbosch, South Africa
More info: Visit the ASSHH website

Research Feature

Strengthening Community Responses to Chronic Hepatitis B

Chronic hepatitis B is the leading cause of primary liver cancer worldwide. It’s estimated that 218,000 people in Australia are chronically infected with this virus.

Despite the marked effectiveness of early detection and monitoring in reducing the development of primary liver cancer, just half of people with this infection in Australia have been diagnosed, and only 3% engage in regular clinical care.

The increasing burden of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in Australia falls disproportionately on Australians born in countries of high prevalence such as China, Vietnam and South Sudan, but current hepatitis B-related information and services are primarily western in orientation and do not take into account the health beliefs and practices of people from diverse backgrounds.

Strengthening Community Responses to Chronic Hepatitis B is a 3-year project aiming to identify how people with CHB from Vietnamese, Chinese and South Sudanese communities understand and respond to the infection. Through this research, the project aims to help reduce the impact of CHB in these communities.

How will this project help?

To effectively reduce the public health burden of CHB among high prevalence communities, it's imperative that policies and services are provided in ways that directly respond to how these communities understand the virus. This project aims to redress the gap in evidence-based knowledge on the social and cultural dimensions of CHB. 

Call for participants

If you have, or know anyone who has, chronic hepatitis B with a Vietnamese, Chinese or South Sudanese background, we would to love hear your stories. Interviews will take between 30 and 60 minutes, and the interviews will be conducted in English, Vietnamese, Chinese or Juba Arabic. Participants will receive $25 in appreciation of their time. Find out more here.

Behind the project

This 3-year project, funded by the Australian Research Council, is being conducted in partnership with Hepatitis Australia, the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine, Hepatitis Victoria, Hepatitis SA, Relationships Australia SA, the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health, and the Cancer Council Victoria.  

The research team includes Professor Marian Pitts, ARCSHS Research Fellows Jack Wallace, Jacqui Richmond and Ros Le, PhD Candidate William Mude and Dr Alex Thompson (from St Vincent’s Hospital).


Is the spirit of volunteerism a culture or a passion?

By William W Mude, PhD Candidate (ARCSHS)

The spirit of volunteerism can be seen in different ways. It can be seen as a culture for some, but for others it can be seen as a passion. It is a culture for others when everyone is doing it. But for others it is a passion because they do it from their hearts with love and they feel great joy in it. I tend to think of the spirit of volunteerism as a moral deed that stress-tests the very core of humanity and as such it cannot be a culture. It is a duty that every being must participate in to touch the lives of fellow beings from the four corners of the globe.

When the spirit of volunteerism is seen as a culture, it loses its very meanings of compassion and empathy. When these meanings are lost, commitments to giving also becomes relaxed. When this happens, we leave our fellow beings to wait at the doors of uncertainty and hopelessness – a wait that gets our very being of humanness questioned. Hence, it is important to see the spirit of volunteerism as a duty that one does gladly and entirely of their own accord yet making a difference in the world.

Recently, I volunteered to support a project that aimed to send medical text books (for midwives, nursing, and public health) to South Sudan. This project started when a Director from Central Equatorian Ministry of Health approached an Australian Pastor, Steve. Steve was requested to support and resource the recently refurbished Mid Wife and Nursing School in Juba.

The project first aims to send 19 nursing and 11 midwives text books and reference books to stock the school’s library. We are still collecting reference books but also some money donations to buy the required text books.

If you're keen to help or want to find out more about what we're doing locally to touch lives internationally, please contact me or Steve Blacket.


Professor Anne Mitchell inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Congratulations to our very own Emeritus Professor Anne Mitchell OM on her induction into the 2015 Victorian Honour Roll of Women

This annual induction recognises the achievements of remarkable Victorian women who have demonstrated leadership and excellence in their field. 

With decades of experience in education, community development and sexual health, Professor Mitchell has had far-reaching impacts on these sectors. As a perpetual high-achiever, she has:
  • Been a founding member of ARCSHS
  • Set up and managed the ARCSHS Community Liaison and Education Unit
  • Co-authored the highly regarded five yearly studies of Secondary Students and Sexual Health
  • Developed the national curriculum package Talking Sexual Health, a 'Safety In Our Schools' training programs for teachers
  • Been the inaugural Director of Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and the Deputy Chair of the inaugural Victorian Ministerial Advisory Committee on Gay and Lesbian Health.
On top of her professorial duties, Professor Mitchell continues to play a key role in the development of national curriculum packages and programs for sex education in schools (designed to include LGBTI students). 

Congratulations on this latest and well-deserved achievement Anne!

Resource Feature

Ask Grandad

Ask Grandad is the latest sex-education resource to be released by ARCSHS. Developed in collaboration with Ansell Healthcare and EntertainThinkInspire, this resource is a direct response to the worrying finding that more than 40% of teens don't use condoms when having sex.

Headed by ARCSHS researcher Pamela Blackman, Ask Grandad aims to stimulate discussion in the classroom through a DVD featuring Neighbours star Ian Smith (who plays Grandad). The resource kit also includes teaching materials, take-home information for students, and Ansell condoms.

Combining humour with celebrity, the aim of the kit is to help teachers bypass the awkwardness of sex education and get the conversation started. It's an important conversation to have, as according to Ms Blackman "about 50% of young people are sexually active by year 12".

Teachers can order the kit from Ansell Sex-Ed.


Ask Grandad in the media

Grandad's been getting a lot of attention. For interviews and articles around this popular release, take a look at the following:  


Latest News


Safe Schools Victoria wins government support

It's official. Safe Schools Victoria is safe for another four years.

Just one day after becoming the first Premier to lead the iconic Pride March, Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Education, James Merlino at Patterson River Secondary College to show ongoing support for the program.

Safe Schools Coalition (developed in 2010) is designed to support gender and sexual diversity in schools - the program is housed within Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria (GLHV) at ARCSHS. With the support of the Victorian Labor government, Safe Schools Coalition will be rolled out to every government secondary school in Victoria, and the program is expected to reach every state and territory in Australia by the end of 2015.

Roz Ward, Coordinator of Safe Schools Coalition, had the chance to chat with the Premier about the impact of the program in schools like Patterson River, reporting that “it’s fantastic that the Premier and Education Minister were able to meet some of the students at this school ... to learn about the impact our program can have.”

Here are some happy snaps from the day.

Find out more about the Safe Schools Coalition here.



Dr Bianca Fileborn
ARCSHS Research Officer

Dr Bianca Fileborn has been with ARCSHS for 18 months, working within the team as a Research Officer. Bianca has a particular interest in the intersections between space, identity and experiences of violence, and her current research interests include street harassment, men’s sexual violence against older women, and sexual health and well-being.

On top of publishing a range of academic and popular articles based on her PhD research, Bianca also manages the ARCSHS twitter account (

Past Work

Before coming to ARCSHS, Bianca worked with the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault. She has a background in criminology, specialising in the fields of sexual violence and violence against women.

Since being at ARCSHS, Bianca has worked with Professor Marian Pitts on the ARC-funded study Sexual well-being and ageing: a study of older women.

Current Work

Dr Fileborn has recently started work on the ARC-funded project SexAge&Me, working with ARCSHS researchers Dr Anthony Lyons, Dr Catherine Barrett and Dr Graham Brown. This project will explore older Australian’s knowledge of STIs and their safe-sex practices.

And as for future work? Bianca is keen to start a project investigating potential justice responses to street harassment in Australia. 

Find out more about Dr Bianca Fileborn here.

We want YOU

Research participants wanted

To continue to deliver high-quality work, we need genuine participants to help us in our research. ARCSHS is currently looking for interested parties to participate in the following research projects.


1. Trajectories of care: Responses to chronic hepatitis B from testing to diagnosis

It's estimated that almost half of people with chronic hepatitis B don’t know they have the condition, and many who do know may be unaware of its potential effects on their personal health and wellbeing as well as the effects on their family.

Do you have hepatitis B? Let's chat.

ARCSHS needs your help with our current research into people's experiences with being tested and diagnosed with hepatitis B. In a short phone interview (approx. 20 minutes), we'll ask you about how you were tested, what information you received, and how you told your family and friends about your test results.

All participants will receive $20 as a reimbursement for their time and costs and interpreters are available.

To set up an interview or find out more, contact Lizzie Smith via email or call (03) 9479 8732.

2. Exploring the consequences of cancer in gay men's relationships

This study is about the impact of a cancer diagnosis on gay men’s relationships. This study emerged out of our previous study Moving On, which looked specifically at the experiences of gay men affected by prostate cancer. We discovered that men in relationships found little in the way of social support or information that addressed their concerns or experiences. Thus, we now want to know about the impact of other cancers on gay men’s relationships, and particularly the experiences of partners who might have cared for a partner being treated for cancer. 

If you have, or have had, a partner with cancer, we’d like to interview you. In a setting of your choice (via phone or face-to-face in Melbourne), each interview will take around 60 minutes and all participants will receive a $50 Coles/Myer voucher. Your participation and identifying information will be kept strictly confidential.

Can you help?  
For more information or to take part in this study, please contact Jennifer Dixon via email or call (03) 9479 8761. Find out more about the study here or visit us on facebook.


Our top ARCSHS picks for this quarter. For more ARCSHS publications, visit our website.

Barrett, C., Whyte, C., Comfort, J., Lyons, A., & Crameri, P. (2015). Social connection, relationships and older lesbian and gay people. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 30(1), 131-142.

Hajarizadeh, B., Grebely, J., Applegate, T., Matthews, G. V., Amin, J., Petoumenos, K., Hellard, M., Rawlinson, W., Lloyd, A., Kaldor, J., & Dore, G. J. (2014). Dynamics of HCV RNA levels during acute hepatitis C virus infection. Journal of Medical Virology, 86(10), 1722-1729.
Pitts, M., Holt, M., & Mercer, C. H. (2014). Introduction to the special issue on the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships. Sexual Health, 11, 381-382.
Richters, J., Heywood, W., Pitts, M. K., Shelley, J. M., Simpson, J. M., Patrick, K., & Smith, A. M. A. (2014). Who's cheating? Agreements about sexual exclusivity and subsequent concurrent sexual partnering in Australian heterosexual couples. Sexual Health, 11, 524-531.
Smith, E. (2014). Gendered ethical self-creation and resistance in sex work. Journal of The International Network of Sexual ethics and Politics, 2(1), 39-53.

ARCSHS in the Media


Our researchers have opinions, and they're out there on the world wide web. Here are some of our favourites. 

Sex, desire and pleasure in later life: Australian women’s experiences by Bianca Fileborn, Gail Hawkes, Marian Pitts, Rachel Thorpe and Victor Minichiello

Whistling and staring at women in the street is harassment – and it’s got to stop by Bianca Fileborn

Ageing gracefully: how women steer the line between inauthentic and old by Bianca Fileborn, Gail Hawkes, Marian Pitts, Rachel Thorpe and Victor Minichiello

Sex and the older woman featuring Bianca Fileborn and Rachel Thorpe

We've also been featured on Hide and Seek (where Gary Dowsett talked about gay men and prostate cancer).
Copyright © 2015 Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University, All rights reserved.

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