The Blood in the Freezer

BHP Lab Technician

By Martha Henry One tiny vial of blood contains a remarkable amount of genetic information about both the person from whom it was drawn and infectious agents like HIV circulating at the time of the needle prick. Because HIV mutates so quickly, having access to lots of samples to study is a valuable resource. “It’s a diamond for science,” said Sikhulile Moyo, Laboratory Manager at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute…

Essex Stresses Infectious Diseases to New Grads

Max Essex speaks at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s graduation ceremony 2016.

Max Essex gave the keynote address to the graduating class of 60 physicians at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine on Friday, May 6, 2016 in Huntington, West Virginia. Essex, the Lasker Professor of Health Sciences at Harvard, is a noted AIDS researcher and Chair of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health AIDS Initiative.

Graduation Address Delivered by Max Essex

On May 6, 2016, Max Essex, the Lasker Professor of Health Sciences at Harvard and Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative, addressed the graduating class of 60 physicians at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. The ceremony took place at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center in Huntington, West Virginia. Here are Essex’s remarks. Special congratulations to all who are graduating. I’m honored to be invited to your celebration. You should feel gratified,…

It Takes 30 Villages: Building Trust in a Clinical Trial

By Martha Henry Because of his own history, Dr. Mompati Mmalane had ideas about how best to introduce a complex clinical trial to communities like Shakawe, a remote village in northwestern Botswana. HIV is no stranger to rural villages. Although the national adult prevalence is 24%, the rate is much higher in some villages. Older adults remember the days before antiretroviral treatment (ART), when Saturdays were crowded with funerals for…

Counting to 73,700: A Guide to Randomization

Google Earth map of Shakawe, Botswana

From: Scott Dryden-Peterson Sent: Friday, June 19, 2015 Subject: BCPP milestone Today we completed mapping of the last study community. In one of the many remarkable behind-the-scenes contributions that has made a project of this scale possible, during nights and weekends over the past 18 months, Oaitse (cc’d here) single-handedly identified and labeled ~73,700 households from Ranaka to Shakawe. We are indebted to you, Oaitse. Thanks, Scott

Max Essex: The Persistent Investigator

Dr. Max Essex Photo by Dominic Chavez

By Martha Henry It’s unlikely that you’ll ever meet anyone more focused than Max Essex. A 1986 New York Times profile described him as “mild mannered” with “a thatch of thick hair” and “among those in the forefront of the worldwide effort to find a cure for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” Today, though his hair is white, that description still fits. Essex, now in his 70s, still arrives at the…

The Botswana Combination Prevention Project: A Way to End the Epidemic?

BCPP field team members and villagers in Shakawe

By Martha Henry The end of AIDS as a public health threat may not come from an effective vaccine, as many had hoped for decades, but from a collaborative effort across nations to prevent new HIV infections. The epidemic that spread mainly through sexual connections may be subdued not from a single breakthrough, but through long-term transnational collaborations.

Q&A with Pride Chigwedere: Examining African AIDS Policies

Dr. Pride Chigwedere is Senior Advisor to the African Union, UNAIDS Liaison Office to the African Union, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. He earned a doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in 2008 and in 2105 was awarded the Emerging Public Health Professional alumni award. A native of Zimbabwe, Chigwedere is now based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He answered questions from Martha Henry, HAI’s Director of Communications.

Updates on Efforts to Combat the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

By Elliot Eton (Eton spent a gap year working with HAI in Boston and Botswana. He’s now a freshman at Harvard. This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Harvard Science Review.) The target is 2030. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has ambitiously set 2030 as the year by which we should achieve the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has claimed the lives of 39…

Videos of HAI/BHP Presenters at CROI

Missed the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston, February 22-25, 2016? No worries. You can still view videos of major HAI/BHP presentations and press conferences.