Guy Harling

Dr Guy Harling is a member of faculty at AHRI and an associate professor at University College London. Guy trained as an epidemiologist, focusing on social determinants of infectious diseases. He has conducted research in South Africa since 2004, and additionally worked in Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Zambia. Much of this work has focused on sexual behaviour and the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV and sexually transmitted infections, with occasional projects relating to tuberculosis and Covid-19.

In recent years Guy has focused increasingly on how social networks structure people’s behaviours and thus health: either to support healthy outcomes or to place people at increased risk of infection and ill-health. This work has included studies with both youth and older adults, with the aim of developing interventions that either work through or adjust social connections to protect against poor health outcomes. Guy holds honorary appointments at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Wits University in South Africa, and at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the USA.

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Guy Harling

Harling group

Guy’s research at AHRI focuses on understanding how people make health decisions within their social context.

The core of this work is the Sixhumene project (“we are connected”), which will evaluate how young people’s social networks change over a three-year period, and how these changes are driven by or are drivers of sexual health behaviours and outcomes.

Guy is also AHRI lead for a multicountry cohort study of adolescent health in nine low- and middle-income countries through the ARISE network. This project will capture information on nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, physical health, health services utilization and substance use – as well as develop digital engagement strategies to distribute health messaging.

Finally, Guy is leading work through AHRI’s population intervention platform to understand how Covid-19 has affected communities, including changes in social contact patterns, healthcare access, mental health and vaccine uptake. The latter work is conducted within the SAPRIN infrastructure, working in four provinces.

Meet the Team

Selected Recent Publications

Harling G, Gumede D, Shahmanesh M, Pillay D, Bärnighausen TW, Tanser F. Sources of social support and sexual behaviour advice for young adults in rural South Africa. BMJ Global Health. (2018). 3: e000955.

Harling G, Tsai AC . Using social networks to understand and overcome implementation barriers in the global HIV response. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. (2019). 82(S3): S244-S252.

Harling G, Gómez-Olivé FX, Tlouyamma J, Mutevedzi T, Kabudula CW, Mahlako R, Singh U, Ohene-Kwofie D, Buckland R, Ndagurwa P, Gareta D, Gunda R, Mngomezulu T, Nxumalo S, Wong EB, Kahn K, Siedner MJ, Maimela E, Tollman S, Collinson M, Herbst K. Protective behaviours and secondary harms from non-pharmaceutical interventions during the Covid-19 epidemic in South Africa: a multisite prospective longitudinal study.  JMIR Public Health and Surveillance (2021). 7(5): e26073.

McCreesh N, Dlamini V, Edwards A, Olivier S, Dayi N, Dikgale K, Nxumalo S, Dreyer J, Baisley K, Siedner MJ, White RG, Herbst K, Grant AD, Harling G. Impact of the Covid-19 epidemic and related social distancing regulations on social contact and SARS-CoV-2 transmission potential in rural South Africa: analysis of repeated cross-sectional surveys. BMC Infectious Diseases (2021). 21: 928.

Mthiyane N, Harling G, Chimbindi N, Baisley K, Seeley J, Dreyer J, Zuma T, Birdthistle I, Floyd S, McGrath N, Tanser F, Shahmanesh M, Sherr L. Common mental disorders and HIV status among adolescent girls and young women in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa . BMC Public Health 2021; 21: 478.