Quarraisha Abdool Karim

Quarraisha Abdool Karim

Quarraisha Abdool Karim

Associate Professor
Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center


PH18, 720W 168th Street
New York NY 10032



Quarraisha Abdool Karim, PhD, Associate Scientific Director of CAPRISA, 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 antiretroviral therapy in resource-constrained settings. She holds Professorships in Clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, USA and in Public Health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She is also a visiting scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University. 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 that has trained over 600 scientists in southern Africa. She was the Principal Investigator of the landmark CAPRISA 004 tenofovir gel trial which provided proof of concept for Microbicides, highlighted by Science as one of the Top 10 scientific breakthroughs in 2010. Professor Abdool Karim’s has over 170 peer reviewed publications and has authored several books and book chapters. Professor Abdool Karim is currently chair of the South African National AIDS Council Prevention Technical Task Team, a member of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and Scientific Advisor to the Executive Director of UNAIDS. She is an advisory board member of the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS), Scientific Advisory Board member of the US President’s Emergency Pan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Chair of the PEPFAR Adolescent Girls and Young Women Expert Working Group, a member of the HIV Centre Strategic Advisory Committee and the NIH OAR Microbicides Planning Group. She is currently Vice-President (Southern African Region) of the African Academy of Sciences.



PhD, 2000, University of Natal
MS, 1988, Columbia University
BS, 1981, University of Durban-Westville

Editorial Boards

HIV Clinical Trials



Columbia Affiliations

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

Additional Affiliations

Member, UNAIDS Science Expert Panel Comittee

Foreign Associate Member, US National Academy of Medicine

Fellow, African Academy of Science

Fellow, The Royal Society of South Africa

Fellow, The World Academy of Science

Member, Academy of Science of South Africa

Honors & Awards

TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize
SAMRC Scientific Merit Award
Science-for-Society Gold Medal ASSAF Award
Order of Mapungubwe: Bronze
African Union Kwame Nkrumah Science Award

Areas of Expertise

HIV/AIDS, Epidemics, Infectious Disease

Select Global Activities

Reducing HIV in Adolescents, South Africa: 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

CAPRISA 004: Tenofovir Gel trial , South Africa: 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.

Columbia University Southern African Fogarty AITRP, South Africa: 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.

Select 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

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

Abdool Karim SS, Abdool Karim, Q, Friedland G, Lalloo U, El Sadr WM on behalf of the START project Implementing antiretroviral therapy in resource constrained settings: opportunities and challenges in integrating HIV and TB care AIDS 18 1-5 2004

Essex M AIDS in Africa (second edition) Kluwer Academic Plemun Publishers New York 2002

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

Abdool Karim SS, Abdool Karim Q, Baxter C Antiretroviral therapy: challenges and options for South Africa The Lancet 362 1499 2003

Abdool Karim Q, Abdool Karim SS The evolving HIV epidemic in South Africa International Journal of Epidemiology 31 37-40 2002

Abdool Karim Q HIV treatment in South Africa: overcoming impediments to get started. Lancet 363 1394 2004

Abdool Karim SS, Mlisana K, Kharsany ABM, Williamson C, Baxter C, Abdool Karim Q Utilising nucleic acid amplification to identify acute HIV infection AIDS 21 653-655 2007

Abdool Karim SS, Abdool Karim Q. Gouws E, Baxter C. Global Epidemiology of HIV Infectious Disease Clinics of North America 21 1-18 2007

Abdool Karim SS, Churchyard C, Abdool Karim Q, Lawn S HIV infection and tuberculosis in South Africa: an urgent need to escalate the public health response Lancet 374 921-933 2009

Detels R, Beaglehole R, Lansang MA, Gulliford M Oxford Textbook of Public Health, fifth edition Oxford University Press New York 1193-1212 2009

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