Photo of Dr. Maryam Shahmanesh

Dr. Maryam Shahmanesh

Senior Lecturer and (Hon) Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV

Institute Graduate Tutor: Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care, University College London (UCL)

NIHR (11/2012 -current):  Co-investigator on “Positive Voices” a study to use the Survey of HIV prevalent and Diagnosed Individuals measure the prevalence health related risk behaviours and patterns health seeking practices in a representative sample of people living with HIV and accessing care in the UK.

Eurosida (9/ 2012- current): Secondary analysis of the Eurosida cohort to look at the management of cardiovascular risk in people living with HIV living in Europe.


NIHR (7/2013- current):  Co-applicant on Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Research and Care, North Thames, developing and evaluating models of shared primary and specialist care for the diagnosis and management of HIV across the life course. 

NIHR HTA  (9/2014 –current): UCL PI and Co-investigator. Lead on half of the work-streams: Sexual risk reduction interventions for patients attending sexual health services in the UK  

EU FP7 (7/2014 – current):  UCL Principle Investigator and lead on WP 7 - Re: Clinical and public health research to improve maternal and new-born health and to control sexually transmitted infections: Staff Exchange Program

Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (9/2014 – current): Principle Investigator: Pilot project to assess the feasibility of whole genome sequencing to inform the epidemiology of STIs in the Africa Centre demographic surveillance area.

MACs foundation (3/2015-current): HIV clinical lead on a BHIVA Primary care and HIV project. 

University College London (UCL)

Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care,

University College London (UCL)

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T. +44 20 3108 2058

Maryam Sharmanesh is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Sexual Health and HIV research and an Honorary Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine at the Mortimer Market Centre since 2012. After graduating in Medicine (Cambridge University), she completed her specialist training in Sexual health and HIV medicine (London).  Her academic training, which has complemented her clinical training includes a degree in Social and Political Science (Cambridge University), a Masters in Epidemiology (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), and a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology (University College London).  Her training has provided her with a strong skill set to comfortably engage with the multitude of disciplines (social science, clinical medicine and epidemiology) that support good public health. A large part of her work has also been leadership in postgraduate teaching, and in particular to improve the ties between teaching and research and to develop a new interdisciplinary Masters in Population Health.

Understanding the structural drivers of poor sexual health in key populations and integrating care in the community  

Throughout her career Maryam Shahmanesh has been interested in Global Health. Her survey of Chlamydia in rural El Salvador was one of the early indications of the high prevalence of this infection in women in Central America. The RCT of malaria treatment in north Burma provided some of the first data to indicate that the high levels of resistance observed in the Thailand was also present in Burma. Her Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship provided one of the only systematic descriptions of the impact of coercive policies and forced dispersion of sex workers on their sexual risk. The publications arising from this study have provided important evidence to support advocacy for sex workers rights; has added to a growing body of evidence of the relationship between structural factors and health/ healthcare delivery; and highlighted the complex interaction between the social context and a variety of seemingly disparate health conditions, namely sexual health and mental health. Since then, she has collaborated with the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust on a World Bank funded evaluation of community mobilization and empowerment in relation to HIV prevention among sex workers in India. She currently leads key work packages in Sante a NIHR pilot feasibility cluster RCT of sexual risk reduction interventions for young people and Men who have sex with Men.

One outcome of the collaborations fostered  between a strong team of collaborators from UK univesrities  with non-governmental organizations, and health services in Goa, was the successful implementation of the ASHA project, a USAID funded evaluation of a pilot intervention to provide an integrated programme of stepped care for HIV as a chronic disease associated with tuberculosis, mental health, and community empowerment, through task shifting to community based workers. A strong feature of this work was the active engagement of stakeholders from the inception of the research. The ASHA project was commended as an example of best practice for Greater Involvement of people living with HIV by the funders. She has continued to pursue the research interest of integrating models of HIV care with other condition within community and primary care settings, in UK and elsewhere. 


  • Mohan HL, Blanchard  AK, Shahmanesh M, Prakash R, Isac S, Ramesh BM,Bhattacharjee P, Moses S, Blanchard JF (2013), Understanding the role of peer group membership in reducing HIV related risk and vulnerability amongst female sex workers in Karnataka, India.  AIDS care, 25 (S1): s46-54
  • Blanchard AK.  Mohan HL.  Shahmanesh M.  Prakash R.  Isac S.  Ramesh BM.  Bhattacharjee P.  Gurnani V.  Moses S.  Blanchard JF (2013). Community mobilization, empowerment and HIV prevention among female sex workers in south India. BMC Public Health, 13:234.
  • Shahmanesh M, Wayal S (2004): Targeting commercial sex workers in Goa, India: Time for a strategic rethink? The Lancet; 364 (9442): 1297-9.


  • Shahmanesh M, Patel V, Mabey D, Cowan FM (2008): Effectiveness of interventions for the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in female sex workers in resource poor settings: A systematic review. Tropical Medicine and International Health; 13 (5): 659-79
  • Shahmanesh M, Cowan FM, Wayal S, Copas A, Patel V, Mabey D (2009): The burden and determinants of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in a population based sample of female sex workers in Goa, India. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 85:50-9
  • Shahmanesh M, Wayal S, Cowan FM,  Mabey D, Copas A, Patel V (2009): Beyond HIV prevention: The suicidal behaviours of female sex workers in Goa. American Journal of Public Health, 99 (7): 1239-46
  • Shahmanesh M, Wayal S, Andrews G, Patel V, Mabey D, Cowan FM, Hart G (2009): HIV prevention while bulldozers roll: A study exploring the effect of the demolition of Goa’s red-light area on the HIV prevention amongst sex workers: Social Science and Medicine, 69(4):604-12
  • Shahmanesh M, Wayal S, Copas A, Patel V, Mabey D, Cowan FM, (2009), HIV prevention following the demolition of a red light area: A study comparing sexually transmitted infections and HIV amongst brothel based sex workers and the dispersed non-brothel based sex work emerging from the demolition. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, 52(2):253-7
  • Wayal S, Cowan FM, Warner P, Mabey D, Shahmanesh M (2010). Sexually Transmitted Infections and contraception use amongst sex workers in Goa. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 87:58-64
  • Smithius F, Shahmanesh M,  Kyaw MK, Szafran O, Lwin S, White N (2004): Comparison of chloroquine, pyramethamine/sulphadioxine, mefloquine and mefloquine-artesunate for the treatment of falciparum malaria in Kachin State, North Myanmar. Tropical Medicine and International Health; 9(11): 1184-90