Ageing with HIV: a qualitative longitudinal study of the lived experience of older gay men in rural Queensland
Bernard Gardiner - PhD Mid-Candidature Review milestone presentation
It is now widely accepted that with treatment HIV is a manageable chronic condition, however the emergence of multiple co-morbidities is associated with a possible ‘accelerated ageing’ that threatens the quality of life of PLHIV. Following the emergence of a relatively successful bio-medical response to HIV, there is a risk that the psycho-social needs beyond the clinic door will become invisible and unmet. Research questions about the lived experience of long-term HIV survivors in regional and rural Queensland are being answered though Qualitative Longitudinal Research. Two rounds of annual semi-structured face-to-face interviews have been undertaken, usually in participants homes. Interview Guides for both rounds were developed in consultation with study partner organizations to draw on their knowledge and to address know areas of weak practice. A sample of 30 gay male long-term survivors has been selected from the Living Positive in Queensland Study participants. Synchronic and diachronic thematic analysis has commenced enabling the candidate to make an oral presentation of preliminary finding to the World STI Congress/ASHM Conference in September 2015, with a planned follow-up presentation in October to the 2nd National LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Conference in Melbourne. An article on volunteerism Contributing to the Common Good has been published in the magazine of the key study partner, Queensland Positive People, to begin the process of feeding back results of the study to participants. While HIV diagnosis was clearly a critical moment in the lives of participants many now present HIV as ‘the least of my worries’, but the sample has very high rates of anti-depressant use, ongoing challenges with stigma and discrimination, and are highly mobile. Nine case studies will also be developed to assist presentation of the findings and the voices of participants “in an evocative and compelling way” (Gordon, 2008: 22).
Bernard Gardiner has over 30 years of experience in the global response to HIV, including three years as General Manager of the Victorian AIDS Council, and seven years as Manager of the Global AIDS Programme of the world’s largest volunteer network, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He has collaborated closely with the Global Network of PLHIV to manage the UNAIDS Collaborating Centre on HIV-related Stigma, and the Code of Good Practice for NGOs Responding to HIV project. He holds a Masters in Health Promotion and two Graduate Diplomas in Education, and is now undertaking his Doctor of Philosophy full-time as part of the Living Positive in Queensland Study at the UQ School of Public Health.