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KESS2 East PhD in Medicine: Understanding the relationship between HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, sexually transmitted infections, and antimicrobial resistance in Wales (UNREST)

Project Description

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP for HIV, is the use of antiretroviral medication by HIV negative individuals whose sexual behaviour or potential exposure to HIV infection puts them at high risk.

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 (STIs). However, as PrEP only protects against HIV, there is a concern that its introduction could result in an increase in other STIs and that these STIs become resistant to antimicrobials. There is currently no robust evidence to either refute or support this concern. We are hoping to attract a student with strong quantitative skills who, in addition, may have had experience of conducting qualitative research or literature reviews. The student will be well supported by the supervisors on developing their research skills and training will be provided.

Project aims and methods
Working in partnership with Cardiff University, Public Health Wales, and Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru; this mixed methods KESS2 East PhD studentship will aim to understand the relationship between PrEP, STIs, and antimicrobial resistance in Wales.

The PhD will involve: i.) Literature reviewing and critical appraisal of current evidence; ii.) Epidemiological research methods using routinely collected data; iii.) Qualitative interviews with individuals accessing PrEP through sexual health clinics; iv.) Causal modelling methods. The student will join a research team that crosses the disciplines of public health, statistics, sociology, and systematic reviews. Research students are all members of Cardiff University’s Graduate College, which exists to foster an intellectually stimulating environment where students are encouraged to share and develop research interests with peers from other Schools and to feel part of a wider cross-disciplinary research community. The student will also spend time at the partnership organisations gaining considerable experience of HIV and sexual health from both public health policy and advocacy perspectives.

Highly skilled researcher co-located with Public Health Wales and Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru, which will provide direct access to relevant networks (e.g. clinic contacts, Public Health PrEP networks across the UK, Welsh Government strategy groups, HIV and sexual health advocacy etc.)
Recommendations to policy makers around appropriate interventions to support PrEP users and clinics in Wales
Identification of further research required in this area
High-quality academic publications and presentations

Funding Notes

Full UK/EU tuition fees
Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

Eligibility criteria - Residency
Applicants for these awards must have a home or work address in the East area* of Wales at the time of their application for funding and enrolment.
Eligibility Criteria - Academic
Applicants should possess a minimum of an upper second class Honours degree, master's degree, or equivalent in a relevant subject.
Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS)


Applicants must:
have the right to work in the UK on completion of the scholarship
be classified as a ‘home’ or ‘EU’ student
satisfy the respective admissions criteria
It is a condition of eligibility for KESS2 funding that you have not applied for, nor are intending to apply for, a doctoral or research master's loan. Please read clause (3) (m) of The Education (Postgraduate Doctoral Degree Loans) (Wales) Regulations 2018 for more information.

*The East Wales region is comprised of 7 local authorities: Cardiff, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.

In order to be considered you must submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service. (To access the system click 'Apply Online' at the bottom of this advert)
There is a box at the top right of the page labelled ‘Apply’, please ensure you select the correct ‘Qualification’ (Doctor of Philosophy), the correct ‘Mode of Study’ (Full Time) and the correct ‘Start Date’ (July 2019). This will take you to the application portal.
If deemed suitable for the project, applicants will be invited to complete a ‘KESS2 Participant Form’ which assesses eligibility for funding. Applicants must also be able to provide supporting documentary evidence of their eligibility. Guidance on this requirement is outlined in the KESS2 Participant Form, an example of which can be downloaded as above. Suitable applicants will be sent this form to complete following the School selection process. Further advice is available from the KESS2 team.

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