Currently completing my PhD research in the School of Medicine, situated within the Centre for Trials Research in Cardiff University. I received a MSc Health Psychology from the University of Bath and from this gained an interest in health behaviour and public health.
My current research aims to understand the impact that HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP, a medication for preventing HIV) has on rates of sexually transmitted infections and antibiotic resistance among gay and bisexual men in Wales. This project is funded by KESS2 and Public Health Wales who act as my company partner.
"Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS2) is a pan-Wales higher-level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the Higher Education sector in Wales. It is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF)"
- My background is in psychology and health behaviours. In 2019 I started my PhD in medicine, examinng HIV prevention and behaviour change from a public health perspective. I am particularly interested in working towards bringing an end to the transmission of HIV.
- Clinically, I am interested in exploring behaviours related to the spread of infectious diseases and how to combat the spread. My other focus is reducing the impact antimicrobial resistance among sexually transmitted infections.
- Methodologically, I am a mixed methods researcher with interest in using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to triangulating results, producing a comprehensive understanding.
- Member of the research team for the DO-PREP project in the Cardiff Universities Centre for Trials Research.
- With Fast Track Cities Cardiff (http://www.fast-trackcities.org/about), I aid in reviewing the sexual health services in Cardiff to identify what is required to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals.
- Supervising intercalated medical students on projects in population medicine.
- Developing and teaching a 6-week health and wellbeing course that is being delivered to college students from deprived areas with the Cardiff Step-Up scheme.
- Guest lecturing for Population Medicine course, focusing on sexually transmitted infections and the dangers of rising antibiotic resistance in Neisseria Gonorrhoeae.
- Delivering Diversity workshops with the charity Just Like Us.
Understanding the relationship between HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, sexually transmitted infections and antimicrobial resistance in Wales.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens and damages the human immune system, resulting in those infected being unable to fight infections naturally. In Wales, over 100 people are diagnosed every year, with a 10% increase every year. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention method in which people who don’t have HIV take HIV medicine to reduce their risk of contracting HIV if they are exposed to the virus.
Wales has recently introduced PrEP through integrated sexual health clinics, where it is prescribed to those considered to be at increased risk of acquisition. The risk criteria for PrEP largely focusses on individuals who engage in repeated condomless intercourse and/or are known to clinics due to past diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections.
There is currently no robust evidence to either refute or support the claim. While there is some evidence that sexually transmitted infections are increasing amongst high risk populations, this can also be explained by the increased amount of testing that PrEP users undergo while receiving PrEP, this is known as surveillance bias. Selection bias also poses an issue in research as those who are provided PrEP are individuals who admit to infrequent condom use before use. Therefore, their rates of condomless sex and rates of infection may not be increasing as much as staying regular.
The aim of this project will be to understand the relationship between pre-exposure prophylaxis, sexually transmitted infections, and antimicrobial resistance in Wales. Acknowledging the sources of bias within data and attempting to understand the true picture using a mixed methods approach. This project intends to develop knowledge and understanding around the impact of PrEP and enhance its use. Hopefully, awareness around the dangers of antimicrobial resistance will be enhanced and allow for people to engage in safer sexual activity.