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31 October 2019

Funding awarded to study long-term conditions in Black African communities with HIV

A team of researchers from King’s have been awarded funding to study multiple risk factors in the setting of HIV infection in African and Caribbean people.


The team was awarded the King’s Health Partners/Guy’s and St Thomas Charity ‘Multiple Long Term Conditions Challenge Fund’ for the two-year project titled ‘Determinants of multiple long-term conditions in Black African Communities with HIV’.

South London has a large (>200,000) population of African and Caribbean ancestry who are disproportionally affected by HIV and experience a high burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes mellitus (DM) and other long-term conditions, often with earlier onset compared to white populations.

The team, led by Professor Frank Post and Dr Heidi Lempp, aim to study the demographic, clinical, social and genetic factors that associate with CKD, DM and multiple long-term conditions in people with HIV. CKD and DM are key conditions that associate with hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease, resulting in or contributing to functional impairment, polypharmacy and impaired bio-psycho-social health outcomes. 

They also plan to host focus groups to explore the role of syndemic factors in the development of these conditions and co-create an educational programme to improve knowledge about long-term conditions in the African/Caribbean community, in collaboration with the Africa Advocacy Foundation in South London.

We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded a grant that will support a cohort study to provide insight into the genetic, clinical and social factors that contribute to the high burden of diabetes and kidney disease in the African and Caribbean communities with HIV in South London.

Professor Frank Post

Not only do the team hope they will gain a better understanding of how different factors contribute to the development of these conditions but also that Black African/Caribbean communities with HIV locally will benefit from a targeted educational programme that will be co-created and piloted within the relevant South London cultural, faith and language context.

Many long-term conditions have strong links to socio-economic determinants alongside biologic and genetic causes. Indeed, many patients and carers confirm that their social context contributes to their state of health and illness. Despite this, socio-economic determinants of health and disease tend to be marginalised or ignored in medical research and their impact is under-estimated in health care provision. This study provides a great opportunity to examine within a multi-disciplinary team systematically to what extent socio-demographic (non-biological) factors play a role in the development of long-term conditions and people’s quality of life.

Dr Heidi Lempp

The Multiple Long-Term Conditions Challenge Fund supports research projects that can help understand more about the health, social and community factors that may play a part in people’s progression from one to many long-term conditions.

The project team consists of Professor Frank Post, Dr Heidi Lempp, Denis Onyango, Fowzia Ibrahim, Dr Kate BramhamDr Louise Goff, Dr Julie Fox and Dr Lisa Hamzah.

In this story

Heidi  Lempp

Professor of Medical Sociology in Rheumatology and Medical Education