Dr Mitzy Gafos
BA MSc PhD
15-17 Tavistock Place
Mitzy Gafos is a mixed methods social scientist and has been working in biomedical HIV prevention trials for the last 13 years. She was the principal investigator of the Microbicides Development Programme (MDP301) phase III clinical trial at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, which was one of six clinical trial centres conducting the trial. MDP301 evaluated a vaginal microbicide gel for HIV prevention among women in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
More recently Mitzy was co-investigator on the PROUD trial evaluating an oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention among gay and other men who have sex with men and trans women in England. She led the comprehensive social science component of the trial as well as a particularly expansive Patient and Public Involvement component which included participant involvement in the trial. At the Medical Research Council's Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, Mitzy also worked on the SELPHI HIV self-testing trial, the EHVA HIV theurapeutic vaccine trial, and on studies looking at adolescent health in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa.
Mitzy recently joined LSHTM as an Associate Professor and is a Co-Research Director of STRIVE, an international research consortium dedicated to studying the structural drivers of HIV, including gender inequalities, stigma and criminalization, lack of livelihood options and alcohol use and harmful drinking norms.
As a mixed methods social scientist, Mitzy is particularly interested in the ways in which people incorporate new HIV prevention technologies into their existing HIV prevention strategieis, and their lives more generally, within the complexities of their sociocultural environment and in the face of structural drivers of HIV.
In the MDP 301 trial, Mitzy explored the ways women positioned vaginal microbicides in the sociocultural contexts of vaginal practices, social norms and gender dynamics. She was particularly interested in how women reframed vaginal microbicides as serving purposes beyong HIV prevention, including sexual pleasure and vaginal hygiene.
In the PROUD trial, Mitzy explored the ways gay and other men who have sex with men, and a few trans women, positioned oral PrEP in the sociocultural contexts of sexual risk taking, digital sexual networking, and chemsex use. She also explored issues related to PrEP adherence, the impact of PrEP use on sexual risk taking, sexual fulfilment, internalised stigmatisation, intimate partner violence, and depression. She is supervisor for three students currently exploring the dynamics of PrEP use, including in the context of chemsex.
In STRIVE she continues her research interests in PrEP uptake and adherence, social norms, intimate partner violence, stigma, and gender dynamics.