Kathleen Wirth Hurwitz

Research Scientist

Department of Biostatistics

Dr. Kathleen Wirth Hurwitz is a Research Scientist in the Departments of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is also an Associated Researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health AIDS Initiative.

Keitumetse Tshwene, a Research Assistant for the BCPP, carries the equipment necessary for in-home HIV testing and counseling in Shakawe, Botswana. Photo by Dominic Chavez, Harvard AIDS Initiative.

Dr. Wirth Hurwitz serves as the Senior Epidemiologist overseeing all statistical and quantitative efforts for the Botswana Combination Prevention Project (BCPP), a pair-matched community randomized trial involving more than 100,000 individuals residing in 30 communities throughout Botswana. The primary objective of this CDC-funded project was to test the hypothesis that implementing an enhanced combination prevention package, including universal treatment, will impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic by significantly reducing population-level, cumulative HIV incidence.

The first set of results on HIV incidence were published in July 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine! Preliminary results on population uptake of HIV testing and treatment were presented in March 2019 at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, WA.

Dr. Wirth Hurwitz and the Male Circumcision Program Evaluation study team at the Bontleng clinic in Gaborone, Botswana.

Previously, Dr. Wirth Hurwitz collaborated with the International Training and Education Center for Health in Botswana and the Botswana Ministry of Health on a large, mixed-methods study evaluating Botswana’s National Safe Male Circumcision Program. She also served as the lead epidemiologist for a multi-site randomized trial of neonatal male circumcision in southeastern Botswana at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute and a prospective cohort study of treatment outcomes among HIV-exposed, uninfected infants hospitalized for severe pneumonia in Gaborone.

In addition to her field work in Botswana, Dr. Wirth Hurwitz has been deeply involved in the development and application of modern epidemiologic methods for HIV research. Most recently, she used instrumental variable techniques to correct for selection bias due survey non-participation in estimating HIV prevalence in Zambia and Botswana. Dr. Wirth Hurwitz is also working with infectious disease specialists in Boston and Botswana to (1.) apply novel predictive analytic techniques to documented HIV seroconversions within BCPP to identify subpopulations at highest risk for HIV acquisition and (2.) to develop a risk assessment tool that can be used to refer high‐risk, HIV-uninfected clients for targeted HIV prevention efforts, including TDF/FTC pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).


ScD, Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 2011

BA, Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003


Complete List of Published Works:  


Selected Methodological Research Publications

Marden J.R., Wang L., Tchetgen Tchetgen E.J., Walter S., Glymour M.M., Wirth K.E. Implementation of instrumental variable bounds for data missing not at random. Epidemiology. 2018; 29(3): 364-368.

Tchetgen Tchetgen E.J., Wirth K.E. A general instrumental variable framework for regression analysis. Biometrics. 2017; 73(4):1123-1131.

Wirth K.E., Austin M.D., Barr C., DeGruttola V. A composite likelihood approach for estimating HIV prevalence in the presence of spatial variation. Statistics in Medicine. 2015; 34(28):3750-9.

Wirth KE, Tchetgen Tchetgen EJ. Accounting for selection bias in association studies with complex survey data. Epidemiology. 2014; 25(3): 444-453.

Wirth KE, Tchetgen Tchetgen EJ, Murray M. Adjustment for missing data in complex surveys using doubly robust estimation: Application to commercial sexual contact among Indian men. Epidemiology. 2010; 21(6):863-71.

Rein DB, Wirth KE, Johnson CA, Lee PP.Estimating Quality-Adjusted Life Year Losses Associated with Visual Field Deficits Using Methodological Approaches. Ophthalmic Epidemiology. 2007; 14(4):258-64.

Selected Substantive Research Publications

Wirth K.E.* and Makhema J.*, Pretorius Holme M, Gaolathe T, Mmalane M, Kadima E, et al. Universal Testing, Expanded Treatment, and Incidence of HIV Infection in Botswana. N Engl J Med. 2019 Jul 18;381(3):230-242. *Authors contributed equally.

Matthews L.T., Jaggernath M., Kriel Y., Smith P.M., O’Neil K., Haberer J.E., Hendrix C., Baeten J.M., Ware N.C., Wirth K.E., Psaros C., Bangsberg D.R., Smit J.A. Protocol for a longitudinal study to evaluate the use of tenofovir-based PrEP for safer conception and pregnancy among women in South Africa. BMJ Open. 2019; 9(7):e027227.

Perriat D., Hayes R., Balzer L., Lockman S., Walsh F., Ayles H., Havlir D., Kamya M., Lebelonyan R., Mills L., Okello V., Petersen M., Pillay D., Sabapathy K., Wirth K.E., Orne-Gliemann J., Dabis F. Comparative assessment of five trials of universal HIV testing and treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of the International AIDS Society. 2018; 21(1): e25048.

Moyo S., Gaseitsiwe S., Powis K.M., Pretorius Holme M., Mohammed T., Zahralban-Steele M., Yankinde E.K., Maphorisa C., Abrams W., Lebelonyane R., Manyake K., Sekoto T., Mmalane M., Gaolathe T., Wirth K.E., Makhema J., Lockman S., Clarke W., Essex M., Novitsky V. Undisclosed Antiretroviral Drug Use in Botswana – Implication for National Estimates. AIDS. 2018; 32(11): 1543-1546.

Wirth K.E., Semo S., Spees L.P., Ntsuape C., Barnhart S., Ledikwe J.H. A prospective cohort study of safety and patient satisfaction of voluntary medical male circumcision in Botswana. Plos One. 2017; 12(11): e0185904.

Gaolathe T., Wirth K.E., Pretorius Holme M., Makhema J., Moyo S., Chakalisa U., et al. Botswana’s progress toward achieving the 2020 UNAIDS 90-90-90 antiretroviral therapy and virological suppression goals: a population-based survey. Lancet HIV. 2016; 3(5):e221-30.

Wirth K.E., Semo B., Ntsuape C., Ramabu N.M., Otlhomile B., et al. Triggering the decision to undergo medical male circumcision: A qualitative study of adult men in Botswana. AIDS Care. 2016 11:1-6.

Mayondi GK, Wirth KE, Morroni C, Moyo S, Makhema J, Ajibola G, Disesko M, Sakoi M, Magetse J, Moabi K, Leidner J, Kammerer B, Lockman S. Unintended pregnancy, contraceptive use, and childbearing desires among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women in Botswana: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2016; 16(1): 44.

Wirth K.E., Wolf E.R., Ho-Foster A., Goldfarb D., Tolle M., Makone I., Jacovides C., Chise M., Steenhoff A.P. Risk factor for measles acquisition among HIV-positive children and adolescents in Botswana. Pediatric Infectious Diseases Journal. 2015; 34(10):1093-5.

Plank R.P., Wirth K.E., Ndubuka N., Abdullahi, Nkgau M., Lesetedi C., Powis K., Mmalane M., Makhema J., Shapiro R., Lockman S. Single-Arm Evaluation of the AccuCirc Device for Early Infant Male Circumcision in Botswana. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 2014; 66(1): e1-6

Wirth KE, Tchetgen Tchetgen EJ, Silverman JG, Murray M. How does sex trafficking increase the risk of HIV infection? An observational study from Southern India. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2013; 177(3):232-41.