Dr Isolde Birdthistle


Associate Professor
of Adolescent Health and Epidemiology

Keppel Street
United Kingdom

020 7927 2519

I use research as a tool to document the needs and solutions for adolescent health. This includes observational research to expose the vulnerability of adolescent girls and young women to early HIV/STI and sexual health risk. I also use epidemiological data to generate evidence for 'what works', particularly through the evaluation of complex interventions for adolescents. I previously worked in adolescent health promotion programmes with WHO (the Global School Health Initiative), UNICEF (education and HIV prevention), Harvard School of Public Health, and the MIT Media Lab.


Department of Population Health
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Centre for Evaluation
Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive & Child Health (MARCH)


I am a Module Organiser for LSHTM's Adolescent Health Short Course, and teach on Extended Epidemiology and Design and Analysis of Epidemiological Studies (DANES). I deliver lectures related to Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health on various modules, including Foundations in Reproductive Health, Family Planning Programmes, and AIDS. I am a tutor on the MSc Reproductive & Sexual Health Research (RSHR) course and regularly supervise summer project dissertations with MSc Epidemiology and MSc RSHR students.


I currently lead a portfolio of studies to evaluate the impact of HIV prevention programmes for adolescents and young people. This includes an impact evaluation of PEPFAR's 'DREAMS' investments in Kenya, South Africa, and Zimbabwe (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and the 'MTV Shuga' television series and accompanying edutainment for young people in South Africa and Cote d'Ivoire, funded by Unitaid and MTV Staying Alive Foundation ( Collectively, these studies are generating evidence to help maximise HIV prevention technologies by increasing demand, supply and uptake, e.g., through a core package of layered interventions addressing HIV as well as broader health, social and educational needs of 10-24 yr-old girls (DREAMS); and by boosting demand for HIV self-testing and PrEP among young people (MTV Shuga).

Research Area
Complex interventions
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Sexual health
Social and structural determinants of health
Adolescent health
Behaviour change
Capacity strengthening
Evidence use
Impact evaluation
Mixed methods
Implementation research
Reproductive health
Operational research
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Sexually transmitted infection
Cote d'Ivoire
South Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Evaluating the impact of the DREAMS partnership to reduce HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women in four settings: a study protocol.
Birdthistle, I. ; Schaffnit, S.B. ; Kwaro, D. ; Shahmanesh, M. ; Ziraba, A. ; Kabiru, C.W. ; Phillips-Howard, P. ; Chimbindi, N. ; Ondeng'e, K. ; Gourlay, A. ; Cowan, F.M. ; Hargreaves, J.R. ; Hensen, B. ; Chiyaka, T. ; Glynn, J.R. ; Floyd, S. ;
BMC Public Health
Integration of HIV and reproductive health services in public sector facilities: analysis of client flow data over time in Kenya.
Birdthistle, I.J. ; Fenty, J. ; Collumbien, M. ; Warren, C. ; Kimani, J. ; Ndwiga, C. ; Mayhew, S. ; Integra Initiative, . ; COLLABORATORS;Mayhew, S. ; Vassall, A. ; Birdthistle, I. ; Church, K. ; Colombini, M. ; Collumbien, M. ; Friend-Dupreez, N. ; Howard, N. ; Mak, J. ; Mutemwa, R. ; Obure, D. ; Sweeney, S. ; Watts, C. ; Warren, C. ; Abuya, T. ; Askew, I. ; Kikuvi, J. ; Kimani, J. ; Kivunaga, J. ; Mdawida, B. ; Ndwiga, C. ; Oweya, E. ; Hopkins, J. ; Oteba, L. ; Stackpool-Moore, L. ; Trossero, A. ; Nhlabatsi, Z. ; Simelane, D. ; Muketo, E. ; Chatuluka, M. ;
BMJ Glob Health
Who are the male sexual partners of adolescent girls and young women? Comparative analysis of population data in three settings prior to DREAMS roll-out.
Doyle, A.M. ; Floyd, S. ; Baisley, K. ; Orindi, B. ; Kwaro, D. ; Mthiyane, T.N. ; Muuo, S. ; Shahmanesh, M. ; Ziraba, A. ; Birdthistle, I. ;
PLoS One
Intimate Partner Violence and Socioeconomic Deprivation in England: Findings From a National Cross-Sectional Survey.
Khalifeh, H.; Hargreaves, J.; Howard, L.M.; Birdthistle, I.;
Am J Public Health
Non-consensual Sex and Association with Incident HIV Infection Among Women: A Cohort Study in Rural Uganda, 1990-2008.
Birdthistle, I.; Mayanja, B.N.; Maher, D.; Floyd, S.; Seeley, J.; Weiss, H.A.;
AIDS Behav
Is education the link between orphanhood and HIV/HSV-2 risk among female adolescents in urban Zimbabwe?
Birdthistle, I.; Floyd, S.; Nyagadza, A.; Mudziwapasi, N.; Gregson, S.; Glynn, J.R.;
Soc Sci Med
From affected to infected? Orphanhood and HIV risk among female adolescents in urban Zimbabwe.
Birdthistle, I.J.; Floyd, S.; Machingura, A.; Mudziwapasi, N.; Gregson, S.; Glynn, J.R.;
See all Dr Isolde Birdthistle's Publications