Dr. Pavia received his M.D. at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, then completed a residency in Internal Medicine and served as chief resident at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. He was an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and completed a residency in Preventive Medicine, also at the CDC. He completed his Infectious Diseases training at the University of Utah. In 1989 he helped to found the AIDS clinic at the University of Utah.
He receives support for his research from Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead Sciences and Roche Laboratories.