Lesley Gittings BComm (Honours), MPhil Public Policy and Administration

SASH Fellow 2016-2017



Lesley is a doctoral candidate in public health with the University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine, where her research focuses on HIV, adolescence and gender. This multidisciplinary research is also supported and co-supervised by the AIDS and Society Research Unit (ASRU) at the Centre for Social Science Research. In additional to being a doctoral student, Lesley is a freelance consultant, and has worked with organizations that address issues of paediatric HIV and gender. Lesley’s primary research interest is in HIV and sexual health. Within these fields, her focus is on gender (with an emphasis on masculinities), spiritualities, adolescence, and social protection. These are underlain by her interests in feminist and decolonial theory and thought. Lesley will be using the SASH programme to develop her research skills and writing and teaching abilities. She is especially excited to be working with, and learning from her colleagues in the programme and the SASH faculty at UCT and Brown.

 Research Topic

 “Adolescence, masculinities and HIV health-seeking within traditional and biomedical health sectors”

Lesley’s project seeks to better understand the gendered health-seeking behaviours of adolescents living with HIV within the traditional and biomedical health sectors. This work aims to contribute to the ART adherence and HIV/AIDS risk and response themes with a focus on masculinities, adolescents and access to traditional and biomedical health services. She will use participatory qualitative methods, and triangulate findings with the world’s largest mixed-methods community study of ART adherence amongst adolescents living with HIV (N=1059).