Bernadette Hensen

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Research expertise

I am an epidemiologist with a focus on implementation research, including impact and process evaluations, to improve access to sexual health services. My focus in particular is on access to HIV prevention services. Until 2022, I worked at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where I was co-investigator of cluster-randomised trials to estimate the impact of community-based distribution of HIV self-testing kits, including a trial nested in the HPTN 071 (PopART) trial in Zambia. In parallel, I was an epidemiologist on a non-randomised study to estimate the impact of DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe), a multi-component intervention to reduce HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women, on HIV incidence among young women who sell sex in Zimbabwe.

More recently, I was lead co-investigator of the Yathu Yathu cluster-randomised trial, which estimated the impact of community-based, peer-led, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services on knowledge of HIV status among adolescents and young people aged 15 to 24 in Zambia. I led a multi-disciplinary team in the conduct of the trial, co-designed the process evaluation with a team of social scientists, and was one of a team of analysts for the primary and secondary outcomes of the trial. I was PI of a study to understand barriers to HIV-related services among men in Zambia and to co-design, with men, an intervention to improve their uptake of HIV-related services. I am co-PI of a study in Senegal to co-design an intervention to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services among adolescents aged 15 to 19.

My research focusses on the design, implementation and evaluation of strategies to improve access to sexual health services. I have an interest in the social determinants of sexual health and of access to services, and in the co-development and evaluation of interventions to address these determinants. My research uses a variety of methods, including cluster-randomised trials, non-randomised evaluations, cross sectional surveys (including respondent-driven and time-location sampling surveys), systematic reviews and qualitative methods. 

I teach on Masters course modules and supervise PhD students.

Education/Academic qualification

Epidemiology, PhD


Control of Infectious Diseases, MSc, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine


Pharmacology, BSc, King's College London



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