Skip to main content

Contact Ajay

Campus Address: 

Room 601 WARF
610 Walnut Street
Madison, WI 53726

Campus Phone Number: 
(608) 263-1756

Ajay K Sethi, PhD, MHS

  • MPH Faculty Program Director
  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Population Health Sciences


Dr. Ajay Sethi received his PhD in Epidemiology and MHS in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He received a BS in Physiology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Sethi's research interests lie broadly in the study of infectious diseases. His studies aim to identify modifiable behavioral and structural factors associated with transmission and morbidity if infection is established. His research employs both quantitative and qualitative methods in clinic- and community-based settings, observational and quasi-experimental study designs, and is conducted in both the US and in Uganda. He works in the area of HIV/AIDS, healthcare-associated infections, and the microbiome.

Courses Taught:

  • PHS 797 Introduction to Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PHS 801 Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PHS 713 Special Topics in Epidemiology: HIV/AIDS (1 credit)


  • UW Center for Global Health
  • UW Developmental Studies Program
  • UW Africa Studies Program
  • UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
  • Society of Epidemiologic Research (SER)
  • American College of Epidemiology (ACE)
  • International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC)

Recent Honors/Awards

  • Barry Farr Award for the best paper submitted in 2010 to Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
  • Professor of the Year, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University

Select Publications

Schulte DM, Sethi AK, Gangnon R, Duster M, Maki DG, Safdar N. Risk Factors for Candida Colonization and Co-Colonization with Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms at Admission. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2015; Nov 14; 4: 46. PMID:26568822.

Nash SD, Katamba A, Mafigiri DK, Mbulaiteye SM, Sethi AK. Sex-Related Alcohol Expectancies and High-Risk Sexual Behaviour Among Drinking Adults in Kampala, Uganda. Global Public Health 2015; Aug 28: 1-14. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID:26315308.

Wandera B, Tumwesigye NM, Nankabirwa JI, Kambugu AD, Parkes-Ratanshi R, Mafigiri DK, Kapiga S, Sethi AK. Alcohol Consumption Among HIV-Infected Persons in a Large Urban HIV Clinic in Kampala, Uganda: A Constellation of Harmful Behaviors. PLoS One 2015; May 11; 10(5). PMID: 25962171.

Barker A, Sethi AK, Shulkin E, Caniza R, Zerbel S, Safdar N. Patients' Hand Hygiene at Home Predicts Their Hand Hygiene Practices in the Hospital. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 2014; May; 35(5): 585-8. Epub 2014 Mar 18. PMID:24709731.

Brennan MB, Barocas JA, Crnich CJ, Hess TM, Kolehmainen CJ, Sosman JM, Sethi AK. "Oops! I Forgot HIV": Resident Physician Self-Audits and Universal HIV Screening. Journal of Infection and Public Health 2015; Mar-Apr; 8(2): 161-9. Epub 2014 Sep 29. PMID: 25277258.

Kram JJ, Borlaug G, Safdar N, Sethi AK. Development and Distribution of Educational Materials for Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae Among Acute and Long-Term Care Facilities. Wisconsin Medical Journal 2015; Apr; 114(2): 48-51. PMID:26756056.

Blakney R, Gudnadottir U, Warrack S, O'Horo JC, Anderson M, Sethi AK, Schmitz M, Wang J, Duster M, Ide E, Safdar N. The Relationship Between Patient Functional Status and Environmental Contamination by Clostridium difficile: A Pilot Study. Infection 2015; Aug; 43(4): 483-7. Epub 2015 Apr 14. PMID:25869819.

Anderson M, Ottum A, Zerbel S, Sethi AK, Safdar N. Are Hospitalized Patients Aware of the Risks and Consequences of Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections? American Journal of Infection Control 2013; Dec; 41(12): 1275-7. Epub 2013 Oct 8. PMID:24119327.

Linder KA, Hecker MT, Kundrapu S, Cadnum JL, Musuuza JS, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Evaluation of Patients' Skin, Environmental Surfaces, and Urinary Catheters as Sources for Transmission of Urinary Pathogens. American Journal of Infection Control 2014; Jul; 42(7): 810-2. Epub 2014 May 1. PMID:24792715.

Hecker MT, Fox CJ, Son AH, Cydulka RK, Siff JE, Emerman CL, Sethi AK, Muganda CP, Donskey CJ. Effect of a Stewardship Intervention on Adherence to Uncomplicated Cystitis and Pyelonephritis Guidelines in an Emergency Department Setting. PLoS One 2014; Feb 3; 9(2). PMID:24498394.

Guerrero DM, Becker JC, Eckstein EC, Kundrapu S, Deshpande A, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Asymptomatic Carriage of Toxigenic Clostridium difficile by Hospitalized Patients. Journal of Hospital Infection 2013; Oct; 85(2): 155-8. Epub 2013 Aug 14. PMID:23954113.

Jury LA, Sitzlar B, Kundrapu S, Cadnum JL, Summers KM, Muganda CP, Deshpande A, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Outpatient Healthcare Settings and Transmission of Clostridium difficile. PLoS One 2013; Jul 24; 8(7). PMID:23894609.

Gudnadottir U, Fritz J, Zerbel S, Bernardo A, Sethi AK, Safdar N. Reducing Health Care-Associated Infections: Patients Want to be Engaged and Learn About Infection Prevention. American Journal of Infection Control 2013; Nov; 41(11): 955-8. Epub 2013 Jul 17. PMID:23870794.

Kundrapu S, Jury LA, Sitzlar B, Sunkesula VC, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Easily Modified Factors Contribute to Delays in Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile Infection: A Cohort Study and Intervention. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2013; May 15. PMID: 23678072.

Anderson M, Ottum A, Zerbel S, Sethi AK, Gaines ME, Safdar N. A Survey to Examine Patient Awareness, Knowledge, and Perceptions Regarding the Risks and Consequences of Surgical Site Infections. American Journal of Infection Control 2013; May 13. PMID: 23680112.

Sunkesula VC, Kundrapu S, Muganda C, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Does Empirical Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI) Therapy Result in False-Negative CDI Diagnostic Test Results? Clinical Infectious Diseases 2013; May 3. PMID: 23645849.

Bajunirwe F, Bangsberg DR, Sethi AK. Alcohol Use and HIV Serostatus of Partner Predict High-Risk Sexual Behavior Among Patients Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in South Western Uganda. BMC Public Health 2013; May 3; 13: 430. PMID: 23641795.

Sitzlar B, Deshpande A, Fertelli D, Kundrapu S, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. An Environmental Disinfection Odyssey: Evaluation of Sequential Interventions to Improve Disinfection of Clostridium difficile Isolation Rooms. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 2013; May; 34(5): 459-65. PMID: 23571361.

Sunkesula VC, Kundrapu S, Jury LA, Deshpande A, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Potential for Transmission of Spores by Patients Awaiting Laboratory Testing to Confirm Suspected Clostridium difficile Infection. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 2013; Mar; 34(3): 306-8. Epub 2013 Jan 23. PMID: 23388367.

Ottum A, Sethi AK, Jacobs EA, Zerbel S, Gaines ME, Safdar N. Do Patients Feel Comfortable Asking Healthcare Workers to Wash Their Hands? Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 2012; Dec; 33(12): 1282-4. Epub 2012 Oct 25. No abstract available. PMID: 23143376.

Kundrapu S, Sunkesula VC, Jury LA, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Utility of Perirectal Swab Specimens for Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2012; Aug 21. PMID: 22911648.

Ottum A, Sethi AK, Jacobs E, Zerbel S, Gaines ME, Safdar N. Engaging Patients in the Prevention of Health Care-Associated Infections: A Survey of Patients' Awareness, Knowledge, and Perceptions Regarding the Risks and Consequences of Infection with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile. American Journal of Infection Control 2012; Aug 9. PMID: 22884494.

Sethi AK, Acher CW, Kirenga B, Mead S, Donskey CJ, Katamba A. Infection Control Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Among Healthcare Workers at Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda. Infect Control and Hospital Epidemiology 2012; 33(9): 917-23. PMID: 22869266.

Werner NL, Hecker MT, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Unnecessary Use of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics in Hospitalized Patients. BMC Infectious Diseases 2011; 11: 187. PMID: 21729289.

Greer SF, Sethi AK, Hecker MT, McKinney BL, Dumford III DM, Donskey CJ. Survey of Patients' Knowledge and Opinions Regarding the Use of Indwelling Urinary Catheters. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 2011; Feb; 32(2): 174-6. PMID: 21460473.

Wandera B, Kamya MR, Castelnuovo B, Kiragga A, Kambugu A, Wanyama JN, Easterbrook P, Sethi AK. Sexual Behaviors Over a 3-year Period Among Individuals with Advanced HIV/AIDS Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in an Urban HIV Clinic in Kampala, Uganda. JAIDS 2011; Feb 4. [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID: 21297481.

Szczotka-Flynn L, Benetz BA, Lass J, Albright M, Gillespie B, Kuo J, Fonn D, Sethi AK, Rimm A. The Association Between Mucin Balls and Corneal Infiltrative Events During Extended Contact Lens Wear. Cornea 2010; Dec 15. [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID: 21173699.

Szczotka-Flynn L, Lass J, Sethi AK, Debanne S, Benetz BA, Albright M, Gillespie B, Kuo J, Rimm A. Risk Factors for Corneal Infiltrative Events During Continuous Wear of Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses. Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science 2010; June 10. [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID: 20538985.

Jump RL, Riggs MM, Sethi AK, Pultz MJ, Ellis-Reid T, Riebel W, Gerding DN, Salata RA, Donskey CJ. Multihospital Outbreak of Clostridium difficile Infection, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Emerging Infectious Disease 2010; 16(5): 827-829. PMCID: 20409374.

Chang S, Sethi AK, Stiefel U, Cadnum JL, Donskey CJ. Occurrence of Skin and Environmental Contamination with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Occurs Before Results of Polymerase Chain Reaction at Hospital Admission Become Available. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 2010; 31(6): 607-612. PMCID: 20397963.

Sethi AK, Gange, SJ. Relative Time as an Alternative Measure of Association in Survival Analysis. Wisconsin Medical Journal 2009; 108(5): 266-8. 19743761.

Babigumira JB, Sethi AK, Smyth KA, Singer ME. Cost Effectiveness of Facility-Based Care, Home-Based Care and Mobile Clinics for Provision of Antiretroviral Therapy in Uganda. Pharmacoeconomics 2009; 27(11): 963-73. PMID: 19888795.

Namagembe I, Jackson LW, Zullo MD, Byamugisha JK, Frank SH, Sethi AK. Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages Among Pregnant Urban Ugandan Women. Maternal and Child Health Journal 2009; Jul 23. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 19629663.

Bajunirwe F, Arts EJ, Tisch DJ, King CH, Debanne SM, Sethi AK. Adherence and Treatment Response Among HIV-1-Infected Adults Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in a Rural Government Hospital in Southwestern Uganda. Journal of International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care 2009; Mar-Apr; 8(2): 139-47. PMID: 19258526.

Bajunirwe F, Tisch DJ, King CH, Arts EJ, Debanne SM, Sethi AK. Quality of Life and Social Support Among Patients Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in Western Uganda. AIDS Care 2009; Mar; 21(3): 271-9. PMID: 19280404.

Sethi AK, Al-Nassir WN, Nerandzic MM, Bobulsky GS, Donskey CJ. Persistence of Skin Contamination and Environmental Shedding of Clostridium difficile During and After Treatment of C. difficile Infection. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology 2009; Nov 23. [Epub ahead of print]. 19929371.

Chang S, Sethi AK, Eckstein BC, Stiefel U, Cadnum JL, Donskey CJ. Skin and Environmental Contamination with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Carriers Identified Clinically Versus Only Through Active Surveillance. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2009; May 15; 48(10): 1423-8. PMID: 19364286.

Sethi AK, Al-Nassir WN, Nerandzic MM, Donskey CJ. Skin and Environmental Contamination With Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci in Patients Receiving Oral Metronidazole or Oral Vancomycin Treatment for Clostridium difficile-Associated Disease. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology 2009; 30(1): 13-7. PMID: 19046063.

Asiimwe S, Whalen CC, Tisch DJ, Tumwesigye E, Sethi AK. Prevalence and Predictors of High-Risk Human Papilloma Virus Detection in a Population-Based Sample of Women in Rural Western Uganda. International Journal of HIV & AIDS 2008; 19(9): 605-10. PMID: 18725551.

Zabarsky T, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Sustained Reduction in Inappropriate Treatment of Asymptomatic Bacteriuria in a Long-Term Care Facility Through an Educational Intervention. American Journal Infection Control 2008; 36(7): 476-80. PMID: 18786450.

Al-Nassir WN, Sethi AK, Nerandzic MM, Bobulsky GS, Jump RL, Donskey CJ. Comparison of Clinical and Microbiological Response to Treatment of Clostridium difficile-Associated Disease with Metronidazole and Vancomycin. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008; 47(1): 56-62. PMID: 18491964.

Al-Nassir WN, Sethi AK, Li Y, Pultz MJ, Riggs MM, Donskey CJ. Both Oral Metronidazole and Oral Vancomycin Promote Persistent Overgrowth of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci During Treatment of Clostridium difficile-Associated Disease. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2008; Jul; 52(7): 2403-6. PMID: 18443120; PMCID: PMC2443881.

Bobulsky GS, Al-Nassir W, Riggs MM, Sethi AK, Donskey CJ. Clostridium difficile Skin Contamination in Patients with C. difficile-Associated Disease. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2008; Feb 1; 46(3): 447-50. PMID: 18181742.

Riggs M, Sethi AK, Zabarsky T, Eckstein EC, Donskey CJ. Asymptomatic Carriers are a Potential Source for Transmission of Epidemic and Non-Epidemic Clostridium difficile Among Long-Term Care Facility Residents. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2007; Oct 15; 45(8): 992-8. PMID: 17879913.

Eckstein BC, Adams DA, Eckstein EC, Sethi AK, Yadavalli G, Donskey GJ. Reduction of Clostridium difficile and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus Contamination of Environmental Surfaces After an Intervention to Improve Cleaning Methods. BMC Infectious Diseases 2007; 7:61. PMID: 17584935; PMCID: PMC1906786.

Rodríguez BR, Sethi AK, Cheruvu VK, Mackay W, Bosch RJ, Kitahata M, Boswell SL, Matthews C, Bangsberg D, Martin J, Whalen CC, Sieg S, Yadavalli S, Deeks S, Lederman MM. Predictive Value of Plasma HIV RNA Level on Rate of CD4 T-cell Decline in Untreated HIV Infection. JAMA 2006; 296(12): 1498-506. PMID: 17003398.

Sethi AK. Adherence and HIV Drug Resistance. HIV Clinical Trials 2004; 5(2): 112-5. PMID: 15116287.

Sethi AK. Adherence and HIV Drug Resistance. Hopkins HIV Report 2004; 16(1): 6-8. PMID: 14989193.

Sethi AK, Celentano DD, Gange SJ, Gallant JE, Vlahov D, Farzadegan H. High-Risk Behavior and Potential Transmission of Drug-Resistant HIV Among Injection Drug Users. Journal of AIDS 2004; 35(5): 503-10. PMID: 15021315.

Sethi AK, Celentano DD, Gange SJ, Moore RD, Gallant JE. Association Between Non-Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy and HIV Drug Resistance. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2003; 37(8): 1112-8. PMID: 14523777.

Celentano DD, Galai N, Sethi AK, Shah N, Strathdee SA, Vlahov D, Gallant JE. Time to Initiating Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Among HIV-Infected Injection Drug Users. AIDS 2001; 15(13): 1707-15. PMID: 11546947.