Conceptual medical abstract, rainbow coloured. Binary code and wave lengths. Credit: AdobeStock

Cohort of AustraLIan wOmen with HIV (CLIO)

The challenge

In the current era of effective antiretroviral treatment, HIV infection is now considered a chronic manageable illness. However, despite this great progress, inequities across marginalised populations remain, including women living with HIV in Australia. Women remain underrepresented in much research, and as such, there are still significant gaps in knowledge specific to women with HIV including accessing treatment and care, efficacy of antiretroviral treatments and side-effects specific to the female body. Reproductive health, cancer, ageing, menopause, mental health and stigma are also poorly understood in the Australian context.

The project

This study will establish the first clinical cohort of women with HIV in Australia, focussing on gender specific issues relevant to women. It will describe the current clinical landscape, identify gaps and barriers in the clinical management of HIV and describe the experiences of women. Critical data including HIV-related information, key laboratory assessments, comorbidities, medications, self-reported social determinants of health, HIV specific knowledge/health literacy, access and use of support services, issues around stigma and discrimination, cancer screening, vaccinations, and reproductive health including pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause will be collected.

The method

At least 250 adult (>18 years) women with HIV will be recruited to this study from HIV treating clinical sites around Australia. HIV related clinical data will be recorded by the recruiting site. Women will also self-complete a detailed questionnaire including socio-demographic characteristics, social-determinants of health, quality of life, experiences with stigma and discrimination as well as experiences accessing health services. This cohort will also have the option to participate in any additional sub-studies that may be developed, with research questions informed by the results of this enrolment visit.

The impact

This study will report on research areas that are currently limited or unknown for women living with HIV in Australia. This first cohort of women will create a strong evidence base to inform prevention and education initiatives and improve health outcomes and equity among women. It will also create a resource from which specific questions can begin to be addressed that previously have not been explored in a research context in Australia.


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Project collaborators
  • Positive Life NSW

Recruiting sites:

  • St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney (NSW)
  • Albion Centre Sydney (NSW)
  • Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre (NSW)
  • Illawarra Sexual Health (NSW)
  • Gold Coast Sexual Health (QLD)
  • Royal Perth Hospital (WA)
Project funding

This study is supported by research grants from ViiV Healthcare Pty Ltd and Gilead Sciences.