I am a PhD student in the School of Medicine, situated within the Centre for Trials Research.
My research aims to understand the relationship between HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), sexually transmitted infections and antimicrobial resistance in Wales.
My project has a mixed-methods design, with five stages including an epidemiological analysis of infection rates and qualitative interview study which will be triangulated. Followed by a causal modelling of findings and the development of a public health intervention to reduce sexually transmitted infections among gay and bisexual men. The project receives funding from KESS 2 as well as Public Health Wales.
My educational background is in Psychology, completing my MSc in Health Psychology in 2019 with my dissertation titled 'Understanding alcohol consumption in lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals'.
I am currently gaining experiecne teaching/lecturing and I am looking to collaborate on projects centred around sexual health and LGBTQ+ individuals.
One of my areas of focus are the health inequalities among LGBTQ+ individuals. Research shows that individuals within these groups experience multiple health issues. For example, for just depression and anxiety, rates among homosexual males are nearly twice as high as the general population. Yet despite this little research or interventions target these groups. I would like to enhance the research within this area.
Epidemiology and surveillance of the spread of infection has become an area of interest. Sexually transmitted infections would be the area I would focus on. Being aware of the difficulty of understanding the spread. I do not have much experience within this field but would like to collaborate on projects in the future.
- 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 on a Population Medicine course for intercalated medical students. 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.
KESS 2 East