Introducing new STRIVE Co-Research Director

21 July 2017
Sephy Valuks

STRIVE welcomed Dr Mitzy Gafos in June 2017. She will play an important role in leading research during STRIVE’s extension period, through to 2019.

A mixed methods social scientist, Mitzy Gafos 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, 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. At the Medical Research Council's Clinical Trials Unit at the University College, London (UCL), Mitzy also worked on the SELPHI HIV self-testing trial and the EHVA HIV theurapeutic vaccine trial, as well as on studies looking at adolescent health in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa. 

Since joining STRIVE, Mitzy has already represented the consortium in a roundtable discussion with Sentebale Co-Founding Patron, His Royal Highness, Prince Harry. At the event, the Sentebale youth advocates shared powerful stories of their experiences living with HIV and made some excellent recommendations, which will be incorporated into our own work on the structural drivers of HIV for adolescents.

	Prince Harry visits the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Photo credit: Getty Images/Chris Jackson

Mitzy will also be at the IAS Conference from 23 – 26 July in Paris, France. You can find out more about the work she will be presenting on our IAS news page.