Dr Fern Terris-Prestholt


Associate Professor
in Economics of HIV


15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0)207 927 2271

Fern Terris-Prestholt joined Social and Mathematical Epidemiology (SaME) in the Department of Global Health and Development in 2000.

Fern's main area of research is the economics of HIV prevention, particular user preferences and behaviour and economic evalution of HIV interventions.  These areas come together by using discrete choice experiments to both inform the design of HIV interventions to improve uptake and targetting. DCEs are also used to parameterise uptake in cost effectiveness modelling. 

She completed her PhD on Women's Demand for New Barrier Methods for HIV prevention, which which used a discrete choice experiment to understand women's product and distribution preferences in South Africa. She holds a MSc in Development Economics from Wageningen University, The Netherlands and a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, USA. She previously worked at the Institute for Medical Technology Assessment in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Department of Global Health and Development


Course organiser: Economic analysis for health policy

Seminar leader: Introduction to health economics

Guest lectures on economic evaluation of reproductive health / HIV interventions on a range of courses both within and outside of LSHTM.


Fern would welcome PhD students with a foundation in economics with an interest in the demand for HIV prevention, using methods such as discrete choice experiments or behavioural economics approaches.


Fern's work focuses on the the economics of new technology introduction for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV and related conditions (such as STIs), primarily in low and middle income countries.  Her PhD studied the determinants of women's demand for barrier methods for HIV prevention in South Africa.

Current projects: 

  • The Unitaid-funded STAR project: developing distribution strategies for Oral HIV self tests in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Lesoth and Swaziland. Her role is to lead the research on user preferences as well as costing to inform the development of optimal distribution systems.
  • She is lead economist on OPTIONS, supporting the introduction of new ARV based HIV prevention products for women.
  • Using crowdsourcing to develop campaigns to stimulate demand for HIV testing among MSM in China.

She has worked on a number of other HIV/STI prevention projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the UK in recent years:

  • Stimulating demand for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision in Tanzania: using discrete choice experiments to inform intervention design
  • ARV-based Prevention: We modelled the cost-effectiveness of Pre-exposure prophylaxis, treatment as prevention, and potential future products, in Nigeria. It was part of an international collaboration coordinated by Georgetown University and funded by Gates. Other mathematical modellers and economists were working in Kenya and South Africa. 
  • Assessing Youth Preferences for Integrated Mobile HIV and Family Planning Services in Rural Malawi: This project aimed to inform the roll out of youth targeted mobile reproductive and sexual health services provided by the Family Planning Association of Malawi. It was a 5 year project that is finishing this year (2013). 
  • Understanding economies of scope and scale of integrating HIV treatment and care in family planning and post-natal care services in Kenya, Swaziland and Malawi as part of the 5 year Gates funded project: Assesing the benefits and costs of integrating HIV services into family planning and post natal care services in Kenya, Swaziland and Malawi.
  • Estimating the costs and cost effectiveness of introducing rapid syphilis screening tests in hard to reach populations in Brazil, Tanzania and China and estimating the costs of scaling up. This is a 3 year Gates/WHO funded project which is very much country driven. I provide the support to local researchers to assist their economic analysis. 
  • Effectiveness of HIV screening in Primary Care: a clustered randomised controlled trial and economic analysis. This study looks at provider initiated HIV screening at registration with GP practices in Hackney, an area of London which hosts many new migrants.

Together these studies contribute to a body of work on the uptake and introduction of new technologies.

In 2015, she took a study leave at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, where she worked on a paper estimating the dynamic effects of condom social marketting tools on uptake of male and female condoms (Journal of Heath Economics 2016) and another paper considering the role of discrete choice experiment as part of formative research for complex interventions (Trials 2019).

Main methodologies used:

cost-effectiveness analysis, discrete choice experiments to estimate new uptake, and econometric analysis.

Research Area
Complex interventions
Economic evaluation
Health policy
Maternal health
Sexual health
Behaviour change
Capacity strengthening
Global Health
Health services
Implementation research
Reproductive health
Health economics
Disease and Health Conditions
Sexually transmitted disease
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Sexually transmitted infection
East Asia & Pacific (developing only)
Least developed countries: UN classification
Sub-Saharan Africa (all income levels)

Selected Publications

Using discrete choice experiments to inform the design of complex interventions.
Terris-Prestholt F; Neke N; Grund JM; Plotkin M; Kuringe E; Osaki H; Ong JJ; Tucker JD; Mshana G; Mahler H
How well do discrete choice experiments predict health choices? A systematic review and meta-analysis of external validity.
Quaife M; Terris-Prestholt F; Di Tanna GL; Vickerman P
The European journal of health economics
The effect of HIV prevention products on incentives to supply condomless commercial sex among female sex workers in South Africa.
Quaife M; Vickerman P; Manian S; Eakle R; Cabrera-Escobar MA; Delany-Moretlwe S; Terris-Prestholt F
Health economics
Cost-effectiveness of screening for HIV in primary care: a health economics modelling analysis.
Baggaley RF; Irvine MA; Leber W; Cambiano V; Figueroa J; McMullen H; Anderson J; Santos AC; Terris-Prestholt F; Miners A
The lancet HIV
Parameterising User Uptake in Economic Evaluations: The role of discrete choice experiments.
Terris-Prestholt F; Quaife M; Vickerman P
Health economics
See more Publications