Dr Elizabeth Fearon BA MSc PhD

Research Fellow


I came to the LSHTM in 2009, first completing an MSc in Epidemiology and then a PhD which examined the effects of friendship networks amongst young South African women and their associations with HIV risk. Before I came to the LSHTM, I worked in international development, which was the subject of my first degree.

I am now working on projects related to the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, including among young women, female sex workers and gay men and men who have sex with men.




I have taught on the Statistical Methods in Epidemiology and Population Health and the Social Epidemiology MSc modules and am a tutor for MSc Public Health.


I am interested in social epidemiology, health equalities, social networks and in the design of impact evaluations. My research experience has been with HIV/AIDS among young women and among marginalised groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, I am working on a number of studies to characterise the HIV epidemic and to trial interventions among female sex workers in Zimbabwe.

My PhD examined the associations between young women’s friendships and sexual behaviour in the context of HIV risk in South Africa. I worked in collaboration with HPTN 068, a randomised control trial examining the effect of monthly cash transfers to young women and their parent/guardians, conditional on their school attendance (University of North Carolina, University of the Witwatersrand and LSHTM).

Through my PhD research, I became interested in methodological as well as substantive aspects of social network analysis, including data collection, statistical analysis, and modelling of social networks in the absence of complete network data. I also have experience in using and examining respondent driven sampling methodologies(RDS), a method to sample 'hard to reach' populations in which participants recruit each other via their social networks.

Research areas

  • Adolescent health
  • Equity
  • Evaluation
  • Impact evaluation
  • Implementation research
  • Inequalities
  • Methodology
  • Sexual health
  • Social and structural determinants of health
  • Statistical methods


  • Epidemiology

Disease and Health Conditions

  • Sexually transmitted infection


  • Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)
  • World


  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Zimbabwe

Other interests

  • Adolescent HIV
  • Adolescents
  • Africa
  • Centre for Evaluation
  • Evidence-based Policies
  • Female sex work
  • HIV
  • HIV prevention
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • MSM
  • Marginalised Groups
  • Measuring and transforming social norms
  • Men who have sex with men
  • NGOs
  • Networks
  • Operational research
  • R statistical language
  • Social Epidemiology
  • Social Networks
  • Social network analysis
  • capacity building
  • social determinants of health
  • structural drivers
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