Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually Transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, spread via the dynamic network of sexual partnerships that are embedded within the social structure of populations. We are interested in the analysis of patterns of sexual behaviour and how they determine the incidence of the different sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, we are interested in the underlying influences which generate the proximate risks for the spread of the infections. Through mathematical models describing STI transmission dynamics we can explore how the biological properties of the infections interact with the behavioural risks to determine the patterns of infections. We can then explore the potential impact of behavioural, biomedical and structural intervention to control the spread of infections.
Models of the spread of infections can also be used to generate counterfactuals to compare with the observed incidence and prevalence of infections. We are interested in the evaluation of interventions using both community randomised trials and observational studies using mathematical models to help interpret results.
Recent years have seen the development of vaccines against STIs, specifically genital herpes and human papilloma virus. The population level impact of these vaccines is greatly influenced by the extreme heterogeneity in the risk of acquiring and transmitting STIs and this has implications for the design of vaccination programmes.
The HIV epidemic continues globally and we are pursuing our interests in HIV surveillance, AIDS impact and the control of the virus in collaboration with UNAIDS for whom we co-ordinate the Reference Group for Estimates, Modelling and Projections (http://www.epidem.org).