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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

Expatriate and Long Term Traveller Networks Study, (2009-2014)

Investigators:

Chief Investigators

Funding

  • Sexual Health and Blood Borne Viruses Program, Department of Health Western Australia ($20,000)

Project Aim and Objectives

  • To determine whether Australian expatriate social networks can be used to support peer education and social influence interventions to reduce sexual health harms including HIV/STIs.   

Background

Over the past five years there has been a substantial increase in the number of men from Western Australia contracting HIV while working or travelling overseas. Surveillance has demonstrated that many of these new infections have occurred in South East Asia, particularly within Thailand. The increases have been linked to a number of factors including strong expatriate culture and networks which exist outside Australia.

A paucity of information exists regarding local relationships formed by expatriates (expats) and travellers within Thailand; the information shared in relationships between members of social networks and the effects that these relationships have on their sexual intentions and behaviour. Examination of these factors may identify influential change agents to guide interventions, predominantly at the peer, network and social influence level that have been the dominant approach in HIV and have proved successful, particularly within Australia.

Project Overview

Research has indicated that a strong expatriate culture and networks exist outside of the Australian environment. There is however, a dearth of information regarding the local relationships formed by expatriates and travellers and the effects that these social networks have on their health.

The primary focus of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of the Australian expatriate culture, networks and experiences in Thailand. The study will use a grounded theory methodology guided by the theoretical perspectives of Symbolic Interaction. Data will primarily be collected through in-depth interviews with participants recruited through purposive sampling amongst long term travellers and Australian expatriates in Australia and Thailand, and other relevant informants. The findings from this study will determine whether Australian expatriate social networks can be used to support peer education and social influence interventions to reduce sexual health harms including HIV/STIs.

Associated Projects

Publications

  • Crawford, G., N. J. Bowser, G. E. Brown, and B. R. Maycock. 2013. “Exploring the potential of expatriate social networks to reduce HIV and STI transmission: a protocol for a qualitative study.” BMJ Open 3: 1-7.