Following an extensive career in clinical medicine, research, and public health, Dr. Andrea Low joined ICAP in 2015, attracted by its international network of collaborative public health projects and the opportunity to work with other Columbia University centers, such as the Earth Institute, to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to global health challenges. Originally a student of marine biology, Dr. Low has a keen appreciation for how ecology impacts public health. She sees the growing threat of climate change driving drought and food insecurity that increases vulnerability in populations, triggering displacement and disrupting health care access. She worked on a study of the impact of severe drought conditions in rural Lesotho on adolescent girls and others, and found possibly higher rates of HIV as a consequence of the complex interplay of poverty, reduced educational opportunity, early marriage, and transactional sex. Since then, she has extended that analysis to another 5 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and has found an association between food shortages and HIV acquisition in women, in a similar pathway as what was identified in Lesotho. During her medical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases, Dr. Low did clinical work in New York and in the United Kingdom. Dr. Low also worked as a Clinical Scholar at the Rockefeller University, where she studied drug resistance in HIV variants. However, the scale and impact of global health combined with a strong commitment to health care as a human right drew her to pursue a PhD in epidemiology, focusing her research on HIV transmission and reproductive health in female sex workers in Burkina Faso. Dr. Low's research interests continue to include HIV acquisition in vulnerable populations and the heterogeneity of infection and risk, as well as common co-infections impacting people living with HIV. Now at ICAP, all the threads of Dr. Low's education, interests, and professional experience support her role as the Clinical and Scientific director of the Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) project. This multi-county project works in partnership with in-country ministries of health to conduct nationally representative surveys that capture the state of the HIV epidemic in severely-affected countries. Dr. Low is also studying health system resilience to climate change with colleagues in Mozambique and at the Earth Institute, and is using innovative ways to track COVID-19 infections for surveillance, collaborating with her colleagues at ICAP to tackle the challenge of a new pandemic.
PhD, 2014, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
MSc, 2008, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
MD, 2000, McGill University
BSc, 1994, University of British Columbia
Areas of Expertise
Intervention Studies, Longitudinal Studies, Adolescent Health, Women's Health, Poverty, HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Antiretrovirals, Epidemics, Hepatitis, Infectious Disease, Tuberculosis, Reproductive Health
Select Global Activities
Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA), Cameroon, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Solutions for Sustainability, Mozambique
Violence against Children Surveys, Lesotho, Eswatini, Ethiopia
Low, A. Thin, K. Davia, S. Mantell, J. Koto, M. McCracken, S. Ramphalla, P. Maile, L. Ahmed, N. Patel, H. Parekh, B. Fida, N. Schwitters, A. Frederix, K. Correlates of HIV infection in adolescent girls and young women in Lesotho: results from a population-based survey. Lancet HIV. 6(9): 613-622.
Low, A. J. Frederix, K. McCracken, S. Manyau, S. Gummerson, E. Radin, E. Davia, S. Longwe, H. Ahmed, N. Parekh, B. Findley, S. Schwitters, A. Association between severe drought and HIV prevention and care behaviors in Lesotho: A population-based survey 2016-2017. PLoS Med. 16: e1002727
Low AJ, Mburu G, Welton NJ, May MT, Davies CF, French C, Turner KM, Looker KJ, Christensen H, McLean S, Rhodes T, Platt L, Hickman M, Guise A, Vickerman P. Impact of Opioid Substitution Therapy on Antiretroviral Therapy Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Clinical infectious diseases. 2016; 63(8):1094-1104.
Mukandavire C, Low A, Mburu G, Trickey A, May MT, Davies CF, French CE, Looker KJ, Rhodes T, Platt L, Guise A, Hickman M, Vickerman P. Impact of opioid substitution therapy on the HIV prevention benefit of antiretroviral therapy for people who inject drugs. AIDS. 2017; 31(8):1181-1190.
Low A, Nagot N, Konate I, Meda N, Segondy M, Van de Perre P, Mayaud P, Vickerman P. Potential impact of existing interventions and of antiretroviral use in female sex workers on transmission of HIV in Burkina Faso: a modeling study. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999). 2015; 68 Suppl 2:S180-8.
Guise A, Seguin M, Mburu G, McLean S, Grenfell P, Islam Z, Filippovych S, Assan H, Low A, Vickerman P, Rhodes T. Integrated opioid substitution therapy and HIV care: a qualitative systematic review and synthesis of client and provider experiences.AIDS care. 2017; 29(9):1119-1128.
Low A, Gavriilidis G, Larke N, B-Lajoie MR, Drouin O, Stover J, Muhe L, Easterbrook P. Incidence of Opportunistic Infections and the Impact of Antiretroviral Therapy Among HIV-Infected Adults in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Clinical infectious diseases: 2016; 62(12):1595-1603.
B-Lajoie MR, Drouin O, Bartlett G, Nguyen Q, Low A, Gavriilidis G, Easterbrook P, Muhe L.Incidence and Prevalence of Opportunistic and Other Infections and the Impact of Antiretroviral Therapy Among HIV-infected Children in Low- and Middle-income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2016; 62(12):1586-1594.
Cianci F, Sweeney S, Konate I, Nagot N, Low A, Mayaud P, Vickerman P. The cost of providing combined prevention and treatment services, including ART, to female sex workers in Burkina Faso. PloS one. 2014; 9(6):e100107