Category Archives: Blog

Are Migrants Driving the Epidemic?

People waiting for the Ferry to Botswana in Kazungula.

When “Treatment as Prevention” was named Science magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year in 2011, there was optimism that we were closing in on AIDS. Results published from the HPTN 052 trial that year showed that in discordant couples, giving antiretroviral treatment (ART) to people with HIV not only was good for their own health, but also lowered the levels of HIV in their blood to undetectable levels, making the chance of infecting their partners extremely unlikely. Continue reading

The Talent & Know-How: Dr. Simani Gaseitsiwe Becomes BHP’s Lab Director

Simani Gaseitsiwe

If a boy from a Botswana village wins second place in the national science fair for a project on optimizing alcoholic brews, predictions about his future could involve his getting into trouble, or working for a large beer company, or, if you’re Dr. Simani Gaseitsiwe, becoming the director of one of Africa’s top research labs. Continue reading

Fogarty Under Threat

Pandemic Crisis

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for eliminating the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Last year, just $69 million of the NIH’s $31 billion budget was allocated to Fogarty.

Founded in 1968, the Fogarty Center serves as a bridge between the NIH and the greater global health community by facilitating exchanges among investigators, providing training opportunities, and supporting promising research initiatives in developing countries. Continue reading

Curiosity Saved the Cats

The untold story of how Max  Essex, some cat ladies, and a small team of researchers saved the lives of millions of felines—and helped identify the cause of AIDS.

By Genevieve Rajewski

In the 1970s, a little-understood virus was the number one killer of cats in the United States. So little was known about it that, in 1970, when an elderly woman first started bringing cats sick with cancer to Angell Memorial Hospital in Boston—the original veterinary teaching hospital for Tufts—there was next to nothing that her veterinarian, Susan Cotter, could do. Read the complete story in TuftsNow.

Illustration by James Steinberg

 

Video Appreciation of the BHP

BHP 20th Anniversary Banner

As our colleagues at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership conclude their 20th anniversary celebrations, we at HAI would like to express our appreciation for the professional collaborations and personal friendships shared for over two decades.

Remembering Mark Wainberg

From left: Tun Hou, Max Essex, Phyllis Kanki, ?, Mark Wainberg

From left: Tun-Hou Lee, Max Essex, Phyllis Kanki, William Haseltine, Mark Wainberg

Researchers at the Harvard AIDS Initiative (HAI) were saddened to learn that their much-loved colleague Mark Wainberg met his death while swimming in strong surf off Bal Harbour, Florida, on Tuesday, April 11th.

“Mark was an outstanding scientist, a dedicated humanitarian, and a great friend. He had tremendous commitment to solving the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” said Max Essex, Chair of HAI, who knew Wainberg for over 40 years.

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BHP Headquarters: Where the Work Happens

Botswana Harvard Partnership Building

The heart of Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) operations is the busy, three-story building on the grounds of Princess Marina, the main public hospital in Gaborone. The crowded research building houses the Botswana- Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory, the Data Management Centre, and office space for BHP staff. Continue reading

Celebrating 20 Years of Life-Saving Research

BHP 20th Anniversary Breakfast

Lives saved are always cause for celebration. The morning of January 26, 2017, in a hotel meeting room in Gaborone, Botswana, AIDS researchers, government officials, and others came together to celebrate 20 years of research, education, and training efforts by the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) to end the AIDS epidemic in southern Africa. Continue reading

Melissa Zahralban-Steele: Doing It Well

Melissa Zahralban-Steele, Max Essex, Vlad Novitsky

The young researchers who work in laboratory of Prof. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative, often use the experience as a springboard to their own important work. Take, for example, Melissa Zahralban-Steele, currently working in the Essex Lab. Continue reading

Essex Considers the BHP’s First Two Decades

Dr. Max Essex at the construction site for the Botswana-Harvard Partnership, Gaborone, Botswana, 2000.

In January, the Botswana Harvard Partnership (BHP) celebrated its 20th anniversary. At the ceremony in Gaborone, Dr. Max Essex , Chair of both the BHP and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health AIDS Initiative, delivered these remarks:

Botswana and the Botswana Harvard Partnership have much to celebrate. Although AIDS in Africa was recognized as a major epidemic in east and central Africa in the early to mid 1980s, it was not yet a big deal in southern Africa. By the early to mid 1990s, however, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization prevalence estimates showed that southern Africa was much more impacted than all other regions of the world.

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