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Migrant Blood-borne Virus and Sexual Health Survey

Start and anticipated finishing date: 2018 – 2022.

Funding details: This research is supported by funding from the Australian Research Council Linkage Program, Curtin University, the Western Australian Department of Health, the South Australian Department of Health, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, SHINE SA, the ASHM Sexual Health Research Fund and in-kind contributions from partner organisations.

Project team: Dr Daniel Vujcich (Project Coordinator, Curtin University) and Caitlin Wilshins (Research Assistant, Curtin University). 

Project investigators: Assoc Prof Alison Reid (Curtin University), Prof Rebecca Guy (Kirby Institute, UNSW), Dr Roanna Lobo (Curtin University), Dr Graham Brown (Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University), Assoc Prof Limin Mao (Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW), Prof Baden Offord (Curtin University), Dr Lisa Hartley (Curtin University) Dr Helen Calabretto (SHINE SA), Assoc Prof Amy Mullens (University of Southern Queensland) and Dr Jo Durham (Queensland University of Technology).


The context: People from high prevalence countries for STI/BBV and/or CALD backgrounds have been identified as a priority population in the National Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategies 2018-2022. There are significant health disparities between domestic- and overseas-born residents with respect to STIs and BBVs. In 2017 the HIV notification rate in Australia was over three times higher for people born in South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa compared to Australian-born residents. With respect to people living with chronic hepatitis B in Australia, 21.4% were born in North East Asia and 17% were born in South East Asia.

The project: The MIBSS project focusses on people born in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and North East Asia who live in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland. The project comprises three stages:


Stage One:

  • Qualitative research into migrant STI and BBV help-seeking practices using a grounded theory approach

  • Development of a draft English-language survey instrument (paper and online) investigating STI and BBK knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and practices

  • Pre-testing of the draft survey instrument facilitated by peer researchers in each state

  • Translation of the final English-language instrument into five languages


Stage Two:

  • Administration of the final survey instruments to 1,100-1,800 people born in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and North East Asia who live in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland

  • Statistical data analysis


Stage Three:

  • Focus group discussions with members of the populations of interest and key service providers to: develop an understanding of group differences in survey responses; explore mechanisms and rationale behind observed associations; and workshop recommendations for STI and BBV health system and policy changes relevant to CaLD communities.

Project objectives:

  • Construct narratives of sub-groups of CALD migrants focussing on their sexual health attitudes and beliefs, perceptions of risk, motivations for sexual health help seeking and experiences of health care.

  • Compare face-to-face and online survey recruitment methods – uptake, population reached, diversity of sample.

  • Determine the implementation requirements of a national, repeatable, behavioural surveillance survey for CALD populations focussed on knowledge, risk behaviour, and health service usage related to BBVs and STIs.

  • Develop recommendations for health promotion and public health initiatives that seek to improve migrant health literacy, service integration and models of care for CALD populations related to BBVs and STIs.

Project impacts: This project will lay the groundwork for a repeated, national STI and BBV survey in CALD communities. A repeated national survey would:

  1. Enable health promotion activities, models of care, policies, workforce development, and research agendas to be better tailored to areas of identified need;

  2. Identify changes in knowledge, attitudes and practices over time to facilitate more responsive program planning; and

  3. Provide data to assist in the evaluation of population-level health interventions.

  4. The project is also building community research capacity through the training and employment of peer researchers.


Project publications:

Related projects: Curtin PhD student, Nang Phoo, is developing and testing an electronic survey with illustrated pictures and audio narration for people born in Myanmar and living in Perth. The survey relates hepatitis B transmission and prevention. Find more information here

Project website:

Want to get involved, or want more information?

Email Daniel Vujcich, Project Coordinator at or telephone 08 9266 3668.

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