[Seminar] Cryptic transmission risk factors in HIV transmission networks by Manon Ragonnet

Manon Ragonnet, MRC Fellow, Imperial College London will give a talk at HKU-Pasteur on July 9, 2019 about Cryptic transmission risk factors in HIV transmission networks:

Date: 9 July 2019

Time: 16:00 - 17:30

Venue: HRI-1B, Ground Floor, HKJC Building for Interdisciplinary Research 5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong


HIV combination antiretroviral therapy prolongs the lives of people living with HIV and significantly reduces onward transmission. Yet, HIV continues to spread through increasingly concentrated populations and poorly understood contact networks. The UK and the USA have accumulated large datasets of HIV sequences from patients and anonymised genetic analysis of these sequences can elucidate transmission patterns within and between key risk groups. In the UK, these analyses have highlighted the existence of a group of men who self-report as hete- rosexual but whose viruses link only to men who have sex with men. Further inquiry into the posi- tion of these men in reconstructed networks suggests that their behaviour may differ from that of both heterosexual men and men who have sex with men. In Los Angeles County, California, we specifically looked at the position of transgender women (individuals assigned the male sex at birth, but who identify as women) in HIV transmission networks and developed a framework for increasing diagnosis rates among transgender women based on network structure. Our results provide a more thorough understanding of local HIV transmission dynamics with the aim of improving targeted HIV intervention strategies. Biosketch: Manon Ragonnet is a Research Fellow at Imperial College London. She studies the evolution and spread of RNA viruses (mostly HIV with a little hepatis C) using phylodynamic analysis. Her research interests stem from both the challenge presented by HIV’s formidable adaptive capacity and its public health implications. She has previously worked on HIV transmission in Canada, the US, Uganda, and South Africa and currently works in the UK and Botswana. Her current research focuses on estimating meaningful epidemic parameters during HIV outbreaks (such as the recent HIV out- break among people who inject drugs in Glasgow) and on quantifying the impact of imports into regional epidemics. ALL ARE WELCOME!