HIV and Reproductive Technology Access
Researcher: Rachel Irwin
Focus: Public Health
DIS Location: Stockholm
About the Research:
Medical advancements have turned human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from a deadly disease into a chronic one, and the use of antiretroviral therapies and pre-exposure prophylaxis can limit the transmission of HIV to negligible levels.
People living with HIV who wish to have biological children will require some level of assisted reproductive technology (ART) to prevent partner-to-partner or mother-to-child transmission. They may also require further reproductive health assistance to address underlying infertility. However, many reproductive health clinics refuse to treat people living with HIV. These barriers often force people to seek treatment across borders and, in the European context, this raises questions about the responsibility for financing cross-border care.
Research Assistant Tasks Include:
The Research Assistant will examine how people living with HIV navigate the web of local, national, and European Union-level policies regarding the access to and financing of reproductive health assistance. They will also explore the issue from the welfare state perspective: how do norms and values about the right to health affect the experience of seeking reproductive care?
The Research Assistant will be helping conduct a literature review on assistant reproductive technologies, conducting a survey of clinics in the EU, and preparing for an IRB application. In the future, work may include fieldwork to clinics, observational case studies, focus groups and interviews, and qualitative data analysis.
Rachel Irwin is a postdoctoral research fellow in medical humanities at Lund University, where her research is on Sweden’s cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO). Prior to this, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Karolinska Institutet (2014-2016), where she led a project on women living with HIV in Stockholm. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology, a M.Phil in medical anthropology, an MS.c. in International Health Policy.