The Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), funded principally by NIAID and select other NIH institutes, has now come to the South!

WIHS is a long-standing interval cohort study since 1992, involving thousands of HIV-positive and HIV-negative women across the United States. To date, WIHS has enrolled and followed women only in northern and western areas of the country, but 2013 marked the addition of four Southern Highlights from the WHRC sites: a shared cohort between University of Mississippi Medical Center and University of Alabama at Birmingham, one at Emory, one at the University of Miami, and one at the University of North Carolina. To read more about the use and findings from the data collected by WIHS, see this listing.

The whole UAB-UMMC cohort is headed by Michael Saag, MD, at the Center for AIDS Research at UAB, while the local UMMC PI is Dr. Deborah Konkle-Parker, PhD, FNP, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine's Division of Infectious Diseases.

Women will be followed at bi-annual study visits where data on multiple physical, biological and psychosocial variables will be gathered. The research team expects important science to be generated to improve lives of women living with HIV, and to expand knowledge related to HIV prevention and treatment. Science that is a high priority includes hepatitis C, renal effects of HIV, cardiovascular issues and menopause, HPV, microbiome of the female genital tract, immunology, access to care, stigma, and multiple other investigations of interest to WIHS and local scientists.

History of WIHS

The Women's Interagency HIV Study, WIHS, began in 1993 to investigate the impact of HIV infection on women in the United States. It is the largest and longest ongoing U.S. study of HIV-infected women. The study receives support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Center for Research Resources, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The original WIHS clinical sites are located in and around 6 cities in the US: Bronx, NY; Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Chicago, IL. Four new southern sites have just been added to the study, including a site in Birmingham AL. This site is a collaborative effort between the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) CFAR and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). The WIHS data management and coordinating center is in Baltimore, MD. Each consortium is headed by a principal investigator, is affiliated with local research institutes to see study participants, and has its own Community Advisory Board.

Initially funded in 1993, the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) is the largest, long-term observational study of the natural history of HIV in women in the U.S. and follows both women who are HIV positive (80%) and a negative control group (20%).

The WIHS is supported mainly by the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as well as other co-funding NIH Institutes: the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDR). The WIHS comprises six metropolitan consortia nationwide: New York City Consortium (Bronx); State University of New York at Brooklyn; Washington, DC, Consortium; Los Angeles, Southern California Consortium; San Francisco/Bay Area Consortium; and the Chicago Consortium. Within each consortium there are two to six institutions or clinical sites involved, with a current total of 1,717 active participants being followed. All data goes through the WIHS Data Management and Analysis Center at Johns Hopkins University (WDMAC).


UAB WIHS Leadership
Dr. Michael Saag, MDWIHS UAB FINAL
UAB-UMMC WIHS Study Principal Investigator

Dr Mirjam-Colette Kempf, PhD, MPH
UAB WIHS Site Co-Principal Investigator

Dr Zenoria Causey, MS, MPH, PhD
WIHS UAB Program Manager

Karen Savage, RN, BSN, CCRC
WIHS UAB-UMMC Program Director

UAB WIHS Interview Team
Sally Shurbaji MSW MPH
WIHS UAB Interviewer Manager

Stephanie Gaskin MHA CHES
Sarah Dougherty BA
Kiko King BS  MAE
Sally Shurbaji MSW MPH
Tammi Floyd Thomas BS

UAB WIHS Clinicians and Colposcopisits
E.T. Overton BA MD MPH
Truus Delfos-Broner RN CRNP Nurse Midwife
Ronald Alvarez MD
Kerris Bevis MD
Christina Muzny MD
Karen "Kadie" Fry CRNP

UAB WIHS Data Team
Margaret "Maggie" McDonald 
WIHS UAB Data Manager/Data Entry

Ilene Brill BA MPH
WIHS UAB Data Analysis

UAB WIHS Clinical Nurses/Phlebotomists
Amy W. Tubbs RN BSN
Karen Savage, RN BSN CCRC
Catrena Johnson RN MSN 

UAB WIHS Laboratory Team
Kamellia Safavy (Manager)
Leif Patrick
Phillip Waller
Xue Mei Bai
Byron Lambert


UMMC WIHS Leadership
Dr Deborah Konkle-Parker, PhD, RN, FNP
WIHS UMMC FINALUMMC WIHS Site Co-Principal Investigator  

Venetra McKinney, MSL 
WIHS UMMC Project Manager

Sharon Spencer
WIHS UMMC Research Specialist
Tina Barnes AA
WIHS UMMC Research Outreach Specialist
Laurie Odom Sullivan, MLT, ASCP
WIHS UMMC Medical Laboratory Technician
Janice Swinton
WIHS UMMC Interviewer
Jackie Simpson, NP
WIHS UMMC Nurse Practitioner

Kayla Karr MSN RN FNP-C
WIHS UMMC Nurse Practitioner


WIHS Sites Nationwide

Each WIHS consortium is supported by a community advisory board (CAB) comprised of participants. Members of the CAB then choose representatives for the national WIHS CAB (NCAB).

WIHS National Map