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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

40 years on, HIV/AIDS is still spreading despite medical advancement

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Chris Beyrer:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I lost my first partner to HIV before there was any treatment. He was a wonderful man who died at 31 of Kaposi’s sarcoma, which was a very untreatable at the time, pulmonary. And I was a resident at Johns Hopkins when he passed. So, yeah, intensely personal to me. Now, in the last last few months, we’ve lost I lost two close colleagues who were leading HIV docs, leading infectious disease people in Zimbabwe who were treating covid patients and of course, did not have access to the vaccines. So that is the reality.

You know that more than a thousand physicians already are thought to have died in India, countries where, you know, these people are few and far between compared to to wealthier countries. And of course, every loss is a human loss. But the losses of those those providers, of course, has implications for everybody else as well. So, yeah, it’s it’s it’s I think for many that sense now that the pandemic is lifting here and it is still ongoing in so many other countries, the urgency that we feel that we have got to do better with global COVID vaccine access. And I would just add that that PEPFAR infrastructure that that we owe to George Bush in the Congress who have supported it and the past four presidential administrations, including the Biden administration, that infrastructure can be leveraged in Africa and Asia for COVID vaccine immunization. And I think it really should be. I think that that’s really important. And we have people, we’ve got nurses, we’ve got outreach workers, we’ve got drivers about all kinds of folks who work for that program, delivering HIV treatments and prevention. And they could be working on COVID as well. So I think that’s that’s something that I hope we’re going to see soon.

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