Along with sex work, HIV/AIDS is another area that I specialize in; and many of the HIV projects overlap with my sex work research. This makes sense because of the relationship between sexuality, gendered inequity, and health in the lives of people in marginalized communities.
While HIV/AIDS is considered a chronic health condition in many parts of the Global North, this is not the case everywhere and access to medications, stigma, and violence continue to shape the lives of people living with and affected by the disease.
My HIV/AIDS research initially took place in India, as part of my doctoral research. When that project began in 2001 HIV was still thought of as a new virus and little qualitative research had been done, particularly among women and girls living in traditional sex work communities. Our on-going research with these individuals was vital in the process of sharing information about safety and finding ways for them to protect themselves and stand together during difficult situations with police, community members, and others.
Most of this work has been collaborative and I have published extensively on the Indian project in articles, book chapters, conference presentations, in-service demonstrations with local HIV agencies, and guest presentations in many other settings.
I have also led HIV/AIDS research projects in Canada that explore how women and men who struggle with addictions approach taking their HIV medications. I wanted to better understand how sexuality and ideas about their bodies shape their health-seeking behaviours.
This study took place in Vancouver, BC and London, Ontario and along with individual interviews, we used the arts-based approach of body mapping to tap into deeper aspects of these people’s lived experiences. It was an intense, transformative experience and many of the participants appreciated the social bonds that we developed during the project and also how safe they felt to express themselves in new ways. I have shared the findings of this project through publications, conference papers, and my 2017 book with Springer Press.
Another part of the Canadian study about sexuality, the body, and HIV medications involved speaking with physicians, pharmacists, and community agencies directly involved in service delivery and social supports for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Learning about their perspectives helped flesh out our understanding of these issues in profound ways. We have published articles and presentations stemming from this aspect of the project. I have taken part in other Canadian collaborative HIV studies related to issues of stigma, and HIV testing.
Below are a few of my projects & publications related to HIV/AIDS:
- Graduate Education (2004): A Painful Power: Coming of Age, Sexuality and Relationships, Social Reform, and HIV/AIDS Among Devadasi Sex Workers in Rural Karnataka, India. Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology, University of Manitoba
- Orchard, T., Salters, K., Michelow, W., Lepik, K., Palmer, A. & Hogg, R. (2015). “My job is to deal with what I can”: HIV care providers’ perspectives on adherence to HAART, addictions, and comprehensive care delivery in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Critical Public Health, 26(5): 542-553.
- Orchard, T., Salters, K., Palmer, A., Michelow, W., Lepik, K. & Hogg, R. (2015). Vets, Denialists, and Rememberers: Health Care Providers Perspectives about Adherence and Non-Adherence to HAART among Poly-Substance Users, AIDS Care, 27(6): 758-761.
- Orchard, T., McInnes, C., Fernandes, K., Clement, M., Gilbert, M., Lima, V., Montaner, J. & Hogg, R. (2010). Factors behind HIV testing practices among Canadian Aboriginal peoples living off-reserve. AIDS Care, 22(3): 324-331.