Sharon S. Weir

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Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Epidemiology

sharon_weir@unc.edu

CPC Office: 123 W Franklin Street, Room 3110
CPC Phone Number: (919) 445-9325

Dr. Weir's Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Weir's Google Scholar profile

Dr. Weir's publications in PubMed

Dr. Weir's CPC publications

Weir focuses on methods that identify and characterize local sexual and injecting drug use networks in resource poor settings. This information is key in preventing the spread of HIV. Not only are many people asymptomatic, which contributes to a hidden epidemic, but persons occupying central positions in HIV transmission networks are often members of mobile, stigmatized, and hard-to-reach populations. Because many people do not know their HIV status and because many of those who are infected are hidden, there is a need for methods based on sound epidemiologic science and that use technology appropriate to the local setting to uncover local transmission networks in a way that leads to effective, ethical, and evidence-based prevention. Weir developed and piloted the Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE) method in South Africa in 1999 to identify where to reach persons most at risk of acquiring and transmitted HIV. Since then, the PLACE method has been implemented in over 28 countries and has been improved through the application of new technologies in HIV and STI testing, improved methods in spatial analysis, and new application of epidemiologic research tools. The method won the USAID Pioneer Prize for Science and Technology in 2013. The largest implementation of PLACE to date was in Uganda in 2013-2014. PLACE was implemented in 30 districts in Uganda and included interviews and HIV testing of over 18,000 persons socializing at high risk venues. A video was produced that describes the method and its use by district level health teams.

Weir has collaborated with UNAIDS and the World Health Organization since 2009, co-chairing a working group to develop operational guidelines for monitoring and evaluation of HIV prevention and treatment programs for people who inject drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender people. In the past two years, she has worked closely with the Global Fund to develop guidelines for estimating the size of key populations.

Weir currently leads the UNC team for a new USAID project that focuses on improving HIV prevention and treatment programs for sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and transgender people. Over the next five years, her research will focus on improving methods to estimate the size of these key populations and tracking them along the HIV prevention and treatment cascade. Weir also recently agreed to lead the UNC team for a new Measurement and Surveillance Consortium funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The work of the consortium will focus on research to improve measurement tools for HIV surveillance.

Primary Research Areas:

  • Reproductive Health

Current Research Projects:

Information updated on 6/30/2017

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