Vasiliki Papageorgiou

Thesis title:

Determinants of health and wellbeing among people living with HIV in the UK: a mixed methods exploration of the impact of structural and social factors


The treatment and care of people living with HIV (PLHIV) has significantly improved in the past two decades across the UK. These advancements now mean that people can live with HIV for much of their life, with few complications; it is a “chronic” (or lifelong) condition and is considered ‘beyond undetectable’. Yet, differences in clinical stage at diagnosis and how people manage their other health conditions (co-morbidities) alongside HIV still exist. PLHIV have also described an unmet need in social and welfare services being provided, which includes services such as immigration or employment support, and whose funding has been affected by recent changes in government policies.

This project looks to investigate why differences exist for the health and wellbeing of PLHIV, and how much this can be explained by peoples’ economic and social circumstances (their social determinants).

We will use two main methods to explore these differences; firstly, analysing data from a survey conducted in 2017 by Public Health England (PHE) of over 4,000 adults living with HIV in the UK, the Positive Voices study. Secondly, we will conduct in-depth interviews with PLHIV as well as other key stakeholders including community organisations, service providers and policymakers. These interviews will also now focus on experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will work closely with PLHIV to help guide our research as it develops, and who will be involved in each step of the study – designing our approach, guiding analysis and interpretation, and disseminating results.

The findings will be shared with our collaborators at Public Health England to provide evidence for future policy and to inform clinical care to improve the experience of PLHIV accessing health and social care services as well as community support groups.

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First supervisor:

Helen Ward

CASE partner:

National Infection Service, Public Health England


1 – Health Practices, Innovation & Implementation