PhD Scholarship in Prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis C Amongst Injecting Drug User

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Using modelling to understand the disparate longitudinal trends in the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C amongst injecting drug users in different UK cities: Implications for prevention activities.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV cause substantial morbidity, and are very easily transmitted between injecting drug users (IDUs) through the transfer of blood.

In different settings in the UK, there is considerable variation in the prevalence of HCV amongst IDUs, much more than for HIV.

Confusion surrounds the reasons for these differences, with syringe sharing - the main risk factor for spreading these viruses - not being highly predictive.

Although this is likely to be partly due to reporting bias, other subtleties in IDU syringe sharing behaviour not included in previous surveys may play a large role in determining the degree of transmission of each infection.

Recently, to help in the development of more effective HIV/HCV prevention strategies, there has been increased interest in using mathematical modelling to firstly understand why some IDU HCV epidemics in Europe are much less disseminated than others, and secondly to explore what factors determine the widely different transmission dynamics of HIV and HCV.

The objective of this analysis is to develop and use a joint HCV and HIV transmission model to gain insights in to these issues.

Recent survey data including detailed questions on the nature of syringe sharing will be used to parameterise the model, and the model will be fit to extensive longitudinal HCV and HIV prevalence data from different UK cities.

Bayesian statistical fitting techniques will enable likelihood estimations for different hypotheses for the variations in transmission.

The insights from the analyses will be used to explore the impact of new prevention strategies in these settings.

This project will be based in the Health Policy Unit, in the Department of Public Health & Policy.

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, an internationally renowned postgraduate institution for public health and tropical medicine, invites applications for Graduate Teaching Assistantships.

These represent a unique and exciting opportunity to undertake original research at doctoral level and to start an academic career through teaching.

Each Assistantship will provide funds for PhD tuition fees together with £14,000 per annum maintenance support for up to four years.

Students will be full-time, ready to start in September 2007 and are expected to complete PhD training within the period of the studentship whilst providing teaching assistance at Master’s level for 10 hours per week.

We are looking for outstanding candidates.

Teaching experience would be an advantage but is not essential as training will be provided to support the teaching requirements of the Assistantship.

Further details, including a list of the research and teaching areas covered by the Assistantships, eligibility and how to apply are available at: PhD Scholarship in Prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis C Amongst Injecting Drug User

or telephone +44 (0)20 7299 4646 for a copy of the application pack.

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