Salim Abdool Karim, MB, ChB

  • CAPRISA Professor of Global Health (in Epidemiology)
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Salim S. Abdool Karim is a clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist who is widely recognised for his research contributions in HIV prevention and treatment. He is CAPRISA Professor for Global Health in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.  He is also Director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

His contributions to microbicides for HIV prevention spans two decades and culminated in the CAPRISA 004 tenofovir gel trial which provided proof-of-concept that antiretroviral drugs can prevent sexually transmitted HIV infection and herpes simplex virus type 2 in women. He is co-inventor on patents which have been used in several HIV vaccine candidates and his clinical research on TB-HIV treatment has shaped international guidelines on the clinical management of co-infected patients.

He is Chair of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel, Chair of the WHO's HIV and Hepatitis Scientific and Technical Advisory Group and a member of the WHO HIV-TB Task Force. He is an elected Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences, the African Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Science in South Africa, the Royal Society of South Africa and the American Academy of Microbiology. He is a Foreign Associate Member of the US National Academy of Medicine.

He serves on the Boards of the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet-Global Health, Lancet-HIV and the Journal of AIDS.

Academic Appointments

  • CAPRISA Professor of Global Health (in Epidemiology)

Administrative Titles

  • Director, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • MBBCH, 1983 University of Natal
  • MS, 1988 Columbia University
  • Other, 1991 College of Medicine
  • Other, 1992 University of Natal
  • PhD, 1999 University of Natal

Committees, Societies, Councils

Fellow, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), 2008 - present

Fellow, Royal Society of South Africa, 2003 - present

Member, Academy of Science of South Africa, 2001- present

Member, International AIDS Society, 1996 - present

Member, International Epidemiological Association, 1989 - present

Foreign Associate Member of the US National Academy of Medicine, 2013-present

Editorial Boards

Editorial Board Member: New England Journal of Medicine

Editorial Board Member: AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses

International Advisory Board Member: Lancet HIV

Honors & Awards

TWAS Prize in Medical Sciences - awarded by The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, 2008

Outstanding Senior African Scientist Award from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), 2011

Allan Rosenfield Alumni Award for Excellence from Columbia University?s Alumni Association in recognition for excellence in AIDS research, 2011

Science-for-Society Gold Medal Award from the Academy of Science in South Africa (ASSAf) in recognition of excellence in the application of outstanding scientific thinking in the service of society, 2011

Medicine Award - Fellowship in Art & Science of Medicine (Gold) from the South African Medical Association in recognition for excellence in research on microbicides, vaccines and TB-HIV treatment, 2011


Epidemiology, prevention and treatment of HIV infection

Research Interests

  • Global Health
  • Infectious Diseases

Selected Publications

Abdool Karim SS, Abdool Karim Q, Kharsany ABM, Baxter C, Grobler AC, Werner L, Kashuba A, Mansoor LE, Samsunder N, Mindel A, Gengiah TN, for the CAPRISA 004 Trial Group. Tenofovir Gel for the Prevention of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection. New England Journal of Medicine 2015; 373: 530-9.

Abdool Karim SS, Kashuba A, Werner L, Abdool Karim Q. Drug concentrations following topical and oral antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis: Implications for HIV prevention in women. Lancet 2011, 378: 279-281.

Moore PL, Gray ES, Wibmer CK, Bhiman JN, Nonyane M, Sheward DJ, Hermanus T, Bajimaya S, Tumba NL, Abrahams MR, Lambson BE, Ranchobe N, Ping L, Ngandu N, Abdool Karim Q, Abdool Karim SS, Swanstrom RI, Michael S Seaman MS, Williamson C, Morris L. Evolution of an HIV-dependent broadly neutralizing antibody epitope through immune escape. Nature Medicine 2012; 18(11):1688-92

Roberts L, Passmore J-A S, Mlisana K, Williamson C, Little F, Bebell LM, Walzl G, Abrahams M-R, Woodman Z, Abdool Karim Q, Abdool Karim SS. Genital Tract Inflammation During Early HIV-1 Infection Predicts Higher Plasma Viral Load Set Point in Women. Journal of Infectious Diseases 2012; 205(2): 194-203.

Abdool Karim SS. Stigma impedes AIDS prevention. Nature 2011, 474: 29-31.

Abdool Karim SS, Abdool Karim Q. Diverse approaches useful for microbicide trials Nature 449 24 2007

Abdool Karim Q*, Abdool Karim SS*, Frohlich JA, Grobler AC, Baxter C, Mansoor LE, Kharsany ABM, Sibeko S, Mlisana KP, Omar Z, Gengiah TN, Maarschalk S, Arulappan N, Mlotshwa M, Morris L, Taylor D, on behalf of the CAPRISA 004 Trial Group Effectiveness and Safety of Tenofovir Gel, an Antiretroviral Microbicide, for the Prevention of HIV Infection in Women. Science 329 1168-1174 2010

Abdool Karim SS, Abdool Karim Q AIDS research must link to local policy Nature 463 733-734 2010

Abdool Karim SS, Naidoo K, Grobler A, Padayatchi N, Baxter C, Gray A, Gengiah T, Nair G, Bamber S, Singh A, Khan M, Pienaar J, El-Sadr W, Friedland G, Abdool Karim Q Timing of Initiation of Antiretroviral Drugs during Tuberculosis Therapy New England Journal of Medicine 362 697-706 2010

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

Global Health Activities

CAPRISA: Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa: CAPRISA is a multi-institutional program to undertake globally relevant and locally responsive research that contributes to understanding HIV pathogenesis and epidemiology as well as the links between tuberculosis and AIDS care, builds local research infrastructure through cores of expertise, and provides training through research fellowships tenable in South Africa and the USA.