A just-released short video marks the 25th anniversary of the Harvard AIDS Initiative, recapping accomplishments and outlining work that remains to be done. Fast-paced and featuring interviews with Max Essex, Harvey Fineberg, Deeda Blair, and others.
Sir Elton John received HAI’s Leadership Award on October 15th. The award is presented to individuals who have exhibited extraordinary vision, leadership, and courage in the worldwide struggle against AIDS. Past recipients include tennis star Arthur Ashe, Diana, Princess of Wales, President Festus Mogae of Botswana, and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria. Continue reading
In her new book, The Genome Generation, journalist Elizabeth Finkel explores what we’ve learned in the ten years since the complete sequencing of the human genome. Her chapter on HIV/AIDS features Dr. Max Essex, Chair of HAI, and his work examining the genetics of the people of southern Africa, where the epidemic has hit hardest. Continue reading
The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine presented its Lifetime Achievement Award for Scientific Contributions to Dr. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative (HAI), on November 1st. Essex received the award “for his work on animal and human retrovirus research and his leadership and great impact in the public health of Botswana.” Continue reading
Max Essex and Unity Dow kicked off the American book tour of Saturday Is for Funerals in Boston at the Harvard Club on May 17th 2010. The book explores both the science and the personal stories behind the AIDS epidemic in southern Africa.
I KNOW YOU STILL LOVE ME: SEXUAL TRANSMISSION
Chapter 2 from Saturday Is for Funerals
Divorces in Botswana are heard by the High Court; that is how seriously the country views marriage. By the time a marriage occurs, there will have been, at the very minimum, six family meetings, starting with those involving close family and progressing to those involving easily sixty or more extended family members. During the weeks, sometimes months, of family meetings and negotiations, small and big feasts are enjoyed, during which presents of bogadi cattle, firewood, and clothes are handed over to the bride’s family by the husband’s. By the time the couple says their Western-influenced “I do’s” before the marriage officer or Catholic priest or minister of religion, and an equally Western-style wedding party is held under white tents, all the customary aspects of the marriage process have been concluded. Parents, uncles, and aunts have given their advice, and the recurring message is simple: “Not two people but two families have just been joined in marriage, and nothing, not even death, is expected to end the relationship.” In fact, according to custom a deceased woman can remain married to a living man. So death does not, per se, end marriage under traditional law. Continue reading
They are an odd couple of co-authors. Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard AIDS Initiative and a world-renowned research scientist, teamed up with Unity Dow, author of four novels and the first woman to sit on Botswana’s High Court, to write Saturday Is for Funerals. The book, a hybrid of science about HIV/AIDS and the personal stories of African families affected by the epidemic, plays to the strengths of both authors. Continue reading
Dr. Max Essex is Chair of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative (HAI), the Lasker Professor of Health Sciences, and Chair of the Botswana-Harvard Partnership for HIV Research and Education (BHP). As the BHP celebrates its 10th anniversary, Martha Henry, Editor of Spotlight, asked Dr. Essex to reflect on past accomplishments and future goals of the BHP. Continue reading
By Martha Henry
Maybe it all started with Deeda Blair, an early (and constant) supporter of the Harvard AIDS Institute. She introduced Max Essex, Chair of HAI, to Maurice Tempelsman in the 1980s.