Anna Mia Ekström

Anna Mia Ekström

Professor/senior physician

Clinical professor in infectious disease epidemiology and research group leader for Global and Sexual Health (GloSH).

About me

Clinical professor in infectious disease epidemiology focusing on HIV and leader for the Global and Sexual Health (GloSH) research group at the Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet (KI).

MD (Uppsala University), MPH (Harvard Chan School of Public Health, USA), PhD in medical epidemiology (KI), Senior clinical consultant in infectious diseases (Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm).

Postdoctoral work

2000-01: Post-doc, Division of Global Health (IHCAR), Dept. of Public Health, KI

Qualifications as associate professor/professor

2008: Docent (associate professor) in International health at KI.

2013: Professor in Global Infectious Disease Epidemiology with a focus on HIV

Specialist certification  

2011: Clinical specialist in Infectious Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital 

Present positions

2020: Senior consultant /clinical professor infectious diseases, Venhälsan, Södersjukhuset

2016: Senior consultant/clinical professor infectious diseases, Karolinska University Hospital

2013: Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology (30%  clinical work & 70% research)

2008: Research group leaderGlobal & Sexual Health”, Dept of Global Public Health, KI

Research description

I took over Hans Roslings research group in 2008. Over the last two decades I have lead many large international research projects in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), HIV, gender in resource-poor, high-risk contexts and sub-populations (young people/adolescent, HIV discordant couples, slum residents, migrants, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs).

Most of my research has been performed in Eastern and Southern Africa, but also in Asia, North America and across Europe including Sweden, working closely with academia, civil society and public and global institutions.

I have a combined clinical professorship position at the Karolinska Institutet (KI) and the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden and work part-time as a senior clinical specialist in Infectious Diseases and HIV. 

Research areas and Methods:

  • Health system evaluation (access to care, policy implementation, retention, effectiveness 
  • Epidemiologic (health & demographic) surveillance of behavioural, morbidity and mortality trends in low-and middle-income settings
  • Quantitative & qualitative studies on risk behaviors, prevention & care (PMTCT, Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP), retention and health systems aspects; antiretroviral treatment (ART) drug resistance and adherence in key populations (adolescents, migrants, people who inject drugs, sex workers and men who have sex with men (MSM))
  • SRHR, GBV & (FGM/C) prevention, adolescent health, LBTQI, knowledge gaps, post-abortion care, contraception access 
  • Social norms related to gender, SRHR, COVID-19 and women’s economic empowerment (www.worldvalues, Gates)
  • Stigma and Quality of life among people living with HIV
  • Behavioural economics and health economic evaluation of health programs, implementation & interventions 
  • Mobile phone health (mHealth) and eHealth (WelTel PMTCT, Flowminder) RCT, surveillance, reminders
  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Sub-Saharan Africa: cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes
  • Migrant studies in relation to social norms, HIV, SRHR and gender

I have published > 125 scientific articles in peer reviewed journals As main applicant, I have acquired > 75 million SEK in external research grants.

Research supervision

Graduated; 20 PhD students (6 postdocs, Ongoing: 9 PhD students (5 as main supervisor).


COVID-19 Vaccine reference group, WHO, Sida’s Scientific Council, ECDC, National Board of Health and Welfare, Institute for Communicable Disease Control, Swedish Migration Dept, Stockholm Needle Exchange, Swedish Foreign Dept, Swedish Society of Medicine, Medical Research Council, Noaks Ark’s Foundation, Aids Accountability International, Global Challenges think tank, KI Ethical council, KI Internationalization Council, Doctor against AIDS, INDEPTH- network of HDSS sites

Funding bodies

European Commission, EDCTP, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, Swedish Research Council, Sida, KI, WHO, Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, Swedish Center for Disease Control, Swedish County Council, FAS, Groschinsky, Swedish Public Health Agency, Solstickan, Gilead, Janssen, South African Medical Research Council, Forte, EBA, UNIC

Teaching portfolio

Teaching & course coordination experience:

20 of years teaching, >900 hrs undergraduate, >400 hrs postgraduate

  • Course coordinator undergraduate course "Global health" 4.5 credits
  • Course coordinator "HIV - an individual focus from a global perspective" 7.5 credits
  • Course coordinator "Infectious diseases" Master of Global health, 4.5 credits
  • Frequent public lectures/media participation (TV, radio etc ) on SRHR, HIV, infections 
  • Responsible for KI's process of internationalisation 2015-2018 to include global health in all study programmes at KI.
  • Responsible for Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in Global Health in 2016 with 17,000 participants across the world. Frequent participant in public lectures, media (TV, radio, newspapers).
  • Supervised 19 PhD students to graduation, multiple master students and postdocs 
  • Scientific coordinator for the Sweden –Tanzania PhD training program sponsored by Sida 2015-2020 and actively involved in the Sweden-Uganda PhD capacity building exchange programmes since year 2000.


Higher education/degrees

2016: Senior consultant (överläkare) in Infectious diseases, Karolinska University Hospital

2013: Professor in Global Infectious Disease Epidemiology, KI & Karolinska University Hospital

2011: Clinical specialist physician in Infectious Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital

2008: Associate professor of International Health, Dept of Public Health, IHCAR, KI

2001: Diploma course “Health care in low-income countries, Uppsala University

2000: PhD in Medical Epidemiology, Dept of Medical Epidemiology & Biostatistics., KI

2000: Licensed to practice medicine, National Board of Health and Welfare

1997: Medical Doctor (MD), Medical Faculty, Uppsala University, Sweden

1995: Master of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA

Doctoral degree 

2000: PhD in Medical Epidemiology, “Factors related to the occurrence of gastric adenocarcinoma subtypes”. Supervisor: Professor Olof Nyrén, Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet. (April 28, 2000)

Academic honours, awards and prizes

  • Member, Sidas Scientific Council
  • Member, KIs Ethical Council
  • Member, KIs International Council
  • Vice leader, Global Challenges think tank, health advisory group
  • Member, Swedish medical society, Global health board 
  • Board member Doctors Against AIDS
  • Member IN-DEPTH Scientific advisory board