Gender differences in patterns of HIV service use in a national sample of HIV-positive Australians Academic Article uri icon


  • There have been clear gender differences in the experience of living with HIV in Australia since the start of the epidemic. This paper examines the patterns of health service use and experiences at those services over a period of six years. The results reported here are drawn from the HIV Futures surveys, four consecutive national, cross-sectional Australian surveys of the lives of PLWHA. Women were found to use different medical services to men both for non HIV-related and HIV-related treatment, being more likely to use generalist services and hospital-based HIV specialists. Women also reported higher rates of discrimination at health services, however reports of new incidences of discrimination were found to decrease from 2001 onwards. Although women reported higher levels of unwanted disclosure of HIV status than men, particularly by health care workers, new reports of unwanted disclosure decreased between 2003 and 2005. These data indicate that there are long-term gender differences in medical service use by PLWHA in Australia, and that this has been associated with higher rates of discrimination and loss of confidentiality for women. However the decrease in new reports of discrimination over time indicates that improved education of health service providers has been successful.

publication date

  • May 2008