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Quarraisha Abdool Karim

Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center

Associate Scientific Director, CAPRISA (Center for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa)

Quarraisha Abdool Karim, PhD, is an infectious diseases epidemiologist whose main research interests are in understanding the evolving HIV epidemic in South Africa; factors influencing acquisition of HIV infection in adolescent girls; and sustainable strategies to introduce HAART in resource-constrained settings. In addition to being a member of the faculty at the Mailman School, Dr. Abdool Karim is an adjunct professor in Public Health and Family Medicine at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Since 1998 she has played a central role in building the science base in southern Africa through the Columbia University - Southern African Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Programme and is also an associate scientific director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). She is the Principal Investigator of the landmark CAPRISA 004 trial that demonstrated that 1% tenofovir gel can prevent HIV infection.
Education & Training:

    PhD, 2000, University of Natal

    MS, 1988, Columbia University

    BS, 1981, University of Durban-Westville

  • Member, UNAIDS Science Expert Comittee
  • Scientific Advisory Board Member, Global Health Institute, University of Washington
  • Fellow, African Academy of Science
  • Director, AIDS Law Project
  • Member WHO/UNAIDS HIV and Maternal Mortality Working Group
  • Member, Academy of Science of South Africa
Honors and Awards:
  • Scientific Chair, International AIDS Conference, Washington 2012
  • Plenary address, XVth International AIDS Conference Bangkok, 2004
  • Plenary Address, 12th International AIDS Conference, Geneva 199
  • Selected Editorial Boards

    • HIV Clinical Trials
    • AIDS
    • JIAS
    Reducing HIV in Adolescents
    The toll of the HIV epidemic on young women makes the need for interventions to protect them from HIV infection imperative. Such interventions need to address risk factors for HIV infection, while simultaneously addressing the social, political, and economic factors that generate vulnerability and perpetuate risk. CAPRISA's epidemiological studies have enhanced our understanding of the evolving HIV epidemic in South Africa by generating valuable information on HIV acquisition in young women to guide the development of interventions focused on your women. The CAPRISA 007 RHIVA (Reducing HIV in Adolescents) trial a proof of concept cluster randomised controlled trial to evaluate the impact of a high school based cash incentivised intervention package to reduce HIV infection in young women in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
    Countries: South Africa

    CAPRISA 004: Tenofovir Gel trial
    CAPRISA 004: Phase II trial to assess the safety and effectiveness of the vaginal microbicide, 1% Tenofovir gel, for the prevention of HIV infection in young women in South Africa.
    Countries: South Africa

    Columbia University Southern African Fogarty AITRP
    The magnitude of the HIV epidemic in developing countries creates the impetus for research to be undertaken in these countries. However, the limited infrastructure and human resource capacity pose many challenges. The CU-SA Fogarty AITRP has in the past 12 years contributed significantly to the development of epidemiological and basic science research capacity to enhance the response to the epidemic in South Africa through training opportunities at Columbia University and a number of academic institutions in South Africa. The program also supports HIV research capacity building in Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho. Some indication of the impact of this program can be gleaned from the publications and leadership roles played by previous trainees.
    Countries: South Africa

Selected Publications:
  • Vermund SH, Allen KL, Abdool Karim Q HIV-prevention science at a crossroads: advances in reducing sexual risk Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS 4 266-273 2009
  • Jack C, Lalloo U, Abdool Karim Q, Abdool Karim S, El-Sadr W, Cassol S, Friedland G A pilot study of once daily antiretroviral therapy with tuberculosis directly observed therapy (TBDOT) in a resource limited setting JAIDS 36 929-934 2004
  • Woodsong C, Abdool Karim Q A model to enhance informed consent: experiences from the HIV Prevention Trials Network American Journal of Public Health 95 412-419 2005;
  • Abdool Karim Q HIV treatment in South Africa: overcoming impediments to get started The Lancet 363 1394 2004
  • Simon V, Ho DD, Abdool Karim Q HIV/AIDS epidemiology, pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment Lancet. 368 489-504 2006
  • Clements CJ, Abdool Karim Q, Chang ML, Nkowane B, Esparza, J Breaking new ground -- are changes in immunization services needed for the introduction of future HIV/AIDS vaccines and other new vaccines targeted at adolescents? Vaccine 22 2822-26 2004
  • SS Abdool Karim and Q Abdool Karim HIV/AIDS in South Africa Cambridge University Press South Africa 2005
  • MacQueen KM, Shapiro K, Abdool Karim Q, Sugarman J Ethical challenges in international HIV prevention research Accountability in Research 11 49-61 2004
  • Woodsong C, Abdool Karim Q on behalf on the HPTN Ethics Working Group A model to enhance informed consent: experiences from the HIV prevention Trials Network American Journal of Public Health In press 2004
  • Mayer K and Pizer H HIV prevention Academic Press 2008

Contact Information


PH18, 720W 168th Street

New York, NY 10032





For inquiries contact:

Quarraisha Abdool Karim