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Kirsten Rowe


DPhil Student

Research focus: Executive function in HIV-positive adolescents

I am a DPhil student working in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Group supervised by Prof Alan Stein and funded by a South African Rhodes Scholarship.

I am interested in the effects of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a neurotropic virus that is highly prevalent in South Africa, on the developing brain, particularly during the adolescent period. My specific research focus is on executive functioning in HIV-positive – perinatally and behaviourally acquired HIV – adolescents, its relationship with sexual risk-taking and whether any impairment in executive function is amenable to intervention. In 2018, I will be doing fieldwork at Agincourt (, the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit in South Africa.

Prior to my DPhil, I graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. This was followed by 2 years practising as a medical intern under supervision and then 9 months as a medical officer performing community service in a primary health care setting.

My long-term vision is to use social entrepreneurship models to start an HIV-related social business and to do policy-shaping research in the field of HIV and mental health in South Africa.

Recent publications

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