Asynchronous: Analyzing Population Based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) Data

Thursday, June 1, 2023 - Friday, June 30, 2023  

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Course Description

This course will explore how researchers focusing on control of the HIV epidemic can use Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) Data to advance their research. The PHIA surveys have been conducted in 13 countries, and the data are now becoming available to the wider research community. The course will teach students how to access and analyse the complex PHIA datasets, using the widely available software, STATA. The first module will provide an introduction to the global HIV epidemic, the aims and protocol of the PHIA surveys, and then the PHIA datasets themselves. Each subsequent module will advance the student 's skills in using the PHIA datasets to interrogate increasingly complex research questions, moving from fairly standard cross-tabulations to complex multi-variable analyses. Students will be provided with a sample dataset from one of the African PHIA surveys. Students will learn how to merge the datasets and how to use the appropriate weighting structure to address the series of research questions embedded in the sequence of modules. Each module will contain video presentations of the techniques, sample do-files and the series of hands-on analytic exercises that will be the basis for completion of each module and the course. This course will provide a resource library and articles demonstrating a diverse array of research using the techniques taught in this course. At the end of the course, students will be able to produce logistic or Poisson regression models using the PHIA datasets and the appropriate weighting structures.

Course Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to provide individuals with the skills needed to conduct data analyses of the Population Based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) data using STATA.


By the end of the course, students will:


  • Learn how the Population-based HIV Impact Assessment surveys (PHIA) provide extensive data to support a broad array of HIV/AIDS research and programmatic question
  • Learn how to access and analyze the PHIA dataset
  • Develop/refine analysis plans for complex research questions using the PHIA data set
  • Become proficient in bi-variate and multi-variable analyses of PHIA data using STATA
  • Be able to conduct analyses using appropriate PHIA weight
  • Learn how to format analyses for manuscripts and research reports


Basic statistics or biostatistics is a pre-requisite, as is experience using STATA. Familiarity with HIV/AIDS and HIV control programs will be helpful. Applicants based in LMICs, and particularly in countries which have already conducted a PHIA survey will be given preference.

Technical Requirements

In order to follow-along in guided analyses and complete course exercises, individuals will need access to STATA and familiarity with the basic STATA command structure. STATA will need to be downloaded and installed. A STATA licenses is required, which is not included in the course. STATA may be included through your university or department. The cost of STATA varies depending on your country of residence and the type of license that you purchase. For PHIA, at the STATE/SE is recommended. STATA can be downloaded at There are a number of introductory STATA tutorials available for free online. Individuals lacking experience in STATA programming must familiarize themselves with STATA prior to beginning this course.

Course Reading List

Scientific articles are listed within each of the modules. These recommended readings will provide background for the module's topics and/or provide a clear example of analyzing population-based HIV impact assessment data for epidemiologic research. Background materials on STATA and sample do-files will also be made available to students.


Andrea Low

Assistant Professor, Epidemiology (in ICAP) at the Columbia University Medical Center

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.

Course Fee

Early registration discount before April 1, 2023: $900.00
After April 1, 2023: $1,000.00


Online Course Format

This is a month-long digital course, equivalent to approximately 20 hours of classroom instruction. Lectures and course material will be presented online in roughly weekly segments. The flexible format will include video or audio recordings of lecture material, file sharing and topical discussion, self-assessment exercises, and access to the instructor for feedback during the course. The course utilizes the learning management software, Canvas (; participants will receive an e-mail inviting them to join on the first day of the course. Any additional information about technical requirements and access to the course will be shared in the weeks before the course begins.

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