Our People

Dr Dean Murphy

Research Fellow
Centre for Social Research in Health


9385 6946
Room 304, Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Culture, Gender, Sexuality, Studies in Human Society, Other Studies in Human Society

Dean is an early career researcher, with experience in research on sexuality, kinship, masculinity, stigma, and the social aspects of biomedical technologies for the prevention of HIV.

Dean is recognised internationally as an expert in research and policy on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. He is also a lead investigator on a clinical research project, the Victorian Pre-Exposure Demonstration Project (VicPrEP Study), and he coordinates the social and behavioural component of this study, which includes both a quantitative and qualitative arm. VicPrEP is investigating the acceptability, impact and feasibility of offering pre-exposure prophylaxis to people at high risk of HIV infection, and was the first study undertaken in Australia. He is also an investigator on a similar project, PRELUDE, which recently commenced in New South Wales.

This recent work has included research on high-risk drinking among young Australians, in particular investigating masculinity in relation to alcohol use. He has also worked on a number of projects on sexuality, HIV and other blood-borne viruses, biomedical technologies, stigma, and sexual pedagogies. Notably, he was the principal investigator on the Priorities in Prevention Study, a study of attitudes among HIV service providers and policy makers to new biomedical technologies. Murphy was also a chief investigator on the PrEPARE Project, which is a repeat cross-sectional survey of knowledge and attitudes among gay men to biomedical technologies and medicine. He has authored a number of publications from this project – on antiretroval therapy, rectal microbicides, and pre-exposure prophylaxis, including changes over time.

Dean's PhD thesis, which was undertaken in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW, received the Dean’s Research Award in the category of best unpublished manuscript by an early career researcher or higher degree completer in 2014, and is forthcoming as a book in July 2015, published by UNSW Press. The book and thesis explored issues of kinship, sexuality and masculinity among gay men pursuing parenthood through surrogacy.


Current areas of research:

  • Attitudes to biomedical HIV prevention technologies
  • HIV-related stigma
  • Uses of chat sites and smartphone apps to meet sex partners
  • HIV genotyping and phylogenetic analysis
  • Kinship practices among gay men who have become parents through surrogacy
  • HIV health promotion and evaluation
  • Sex, HIV phylogenetic analysis and kinship among HIV-positive gay men

Honours and prizes

Dean's PhD thesis won the inaugural prize for best unpublished manuscript by an early-career researcher or higher-degree completer in the Dean’s Research Awards series. A book based on this research, Gay men pursuing parenthood through surrogacy: Reconfiguring kinship, analyses how
relatedness is enacted in the context of gay men pursuing parenthood through both domestic and transnational surrogacy arrangements. These men represent an important first generation to access assisted reproductive technologies for this purpose and are part of an increasing proportion of gay men becoming parents outside a (previous) heterosexual relationship.

Drawing on data collected from in-depth interviews with gay men living in Australia and the USA, the book explores how gay men ‘enact’ parenthood and family life in ways that both challenge and reinforce dominant notions of kinship and masculinity. The findings demonstrate that men come to experience parenthood desire largely because of the new narratives and opportunities being made available to them today. Like most people, they grew up with parenthood expectations, although these were challenged when they assumed a gay identity.

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