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Using social networks to understand and intervene on HIV epidemic spread (360G-Wellcome-210479_Z_18_Z)

Young people in sub-Saharan Africa are central to ending the HIV epidemic. However, uptake of proven protective interventions is low and evidence on who does/does not engage is limited. Theory predicts that behaviours and intervention uptake cluster within social networks. Interventions in other settings have successfully leveraged social ties to improve intervention impact. I aim to: (1) use novel methods to identify how social networks pattern risk for HIV acquisition; and (2) test the feasibility of using such knowledge to improve intervention uptake. I will undertake this work at the Africa Health Research Institute in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Following qualitative interviews with young people exploring their social networks and social norms, we will then quantitatively follow 600 15-24 year-olds, together with their close friends and family, for three years. Using these longitudinal data, we will statistically model how social contacts influence behaviour and HSV/HIV acquisition. We will then quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the feasibility of using network-selected peer-educators to promote uptake of HIV self-tests and subsequent treatment. We will compare how influential peer-educators differ from randomly selected ones in terms of willingness to be involved, training dynamics and health impact.


21 Feb 2018

Grant details
Amount Awarded 1244577
Applicant Surname Harling
Approval Committee Sir Henry Dale Fellowship Interview Committee
Award Date 2018-02-21T00:00:00+00:00
Financial Year 2017/18
Grant Programme: Title Sir Henry Dale Fellowship
Internal ID 210479/Z/18/Z
Lead Applicant Dr Guy Harling
Planned Dates: End Date 2024-01-01T00:00:00+00:00
Planned Dates: Start Date 2019-01-01T00:00:00+00:00
Recipient Org: Country United Kingdom
Region Greater London
Sponsor(s) Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, Prof Deenan Pillay
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