Andrew Vallely is a clinical epidemiologist with the Public Health Interventions Research Group at the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW. Andrew has over 18 years experience in international public health, HIV/STI and infectious disease interventions research. He has designed and led multi-disciplinary research teams in Australia, Kenya, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Tanzania, United Kingdom and Vanuatu.
In 2007, he established an international collaborative research group in sexual and reproductive health at the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNG IMR), where he was Head of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit and Deputy Director from 2010-2015. His collaborative research group recently completed a field evaluation of a novel HPV-based cervical screening strategy among 1000 women in PNG. In this study, point-of-care Xpert HPV testing using self-collected specimens outperformed visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid (VIA), or a combination of HPV testing plus VIA, for the detection of underlying high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30391365; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29906593). His group is currently conducting a field trial among 3400 women in PNG to confirm these initial findings, and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness, health system implementation requirements and acceptability of this point-of-care Xpert HPV ‘test and treat’ strategy (http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN13476702).
Andrew leads a UK Wellcome Trust / NHMRC co-funded cluster randomised trial in PNG to evaluate antenatal point-of-care testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to improve birth outcomes in high-burden, low-income settings (the WANTAIM Trial; https://kirby.unsw.edu.au/project/wantaim-women-and-newborn-trial-antenatal-interventions-and-management). This trial builds on his earlier research that demonstrated the poor performance of 'syndromic' STI management (based on clinical features alone without laboratory confirmation) in this setting (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29288183) and a successful pilot study of antenatal point-of-care STI testing and treatment (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27268218). He was a lead investigator on a recently completed cluster randomised trial to evaluate point-of-care Xpert HIV testing to accelerate the initiation of antiretroviral therapy among HIV-exposed infants in PNG and Myanmar (the AAMI Study; https://www.burnet.edu.au/projects/211_accelerating_art_initiation_among_infants_aami_study).