This project is the first exploratory study examining perceptions of women toward the human T-cell leukemia virus 1 (HTLV-1), which is endemic to Aboriginal populations in Central Australia.
The project will be carried out by Masters student, Fiona Fowler (Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin) under the supervision of Dr Lloyd Einsiedel, Head of Infectious Diseases at Alice Springs Hospital and Dr Radwan Talukder, Head of HTLV-1 Research at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Fiona is a qualified social worker who has previous experience working in Central Australia. Fiona will use qualitative methods to explore perceptions toward HTLV-1 as it affects women, including its vertical (mother-to-child) and horizontal (sexual) transmission.
The project is expected to inform future research and programs addressing HTLV-1 prevention among Aboriginal women, who are most at risk of contracting the virus. Fiona has been awarded a Gender Equity and Diversity Grant from the Northern Territory Government and the grant will be used in 2021 to fund a female Aboriginal co-researcher to assist with the identification and recruitment of Aboriginal women who wish to share their stories and knowledges for the purposes of the project.