Hands holding HIV ribbons


The Harvard AIDS Institute is established by Harvard President Derek Bok, Harvard School of Public Health Dean Harvey Feinberg, and Harvard Medical School Dean Daniel Tosteson. Because of his research track record, Max Essex is chosen to lead the new institute.

The National Institutes of Health’s John E. Fogarty Foundation for International Health begins training program for students from developing countries. HAI receives funding and brings students to Harvard to study in the Essex Lab.

Dr. Tun-Hou Lee

Research Discoveries: Identification of HIV antibodies in saliva, paving the way for blood-free diagnostic test; discovery of proteins for vpx and vpu that distinguish HIV-1 and


Maurice Tempelsman
Maurice Tempelsman, Chair of IAC

First meeting of the International Advisory Council (IAC), composed of individuals who complement HAI’s research capability and act as advocates on its behalf. Chaired by Maurice Tempelsman and Deeda Blair, the Council is composed of members who strengthen HIV/AIDS research by providing advice, experience, and support for HAI’s work.


Thailand Team Members
Thailand Team Members: Sophie Le Coeur, Marc Lallemant, Vicharn Vithayasai

Official partnership established in Thailand with Chiang Mai University and a network of 50 public hospitals. Studies were conducted on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in resource-limited countries.

Research Discovery: Identification of vpr protein of HIV-1.


Official partnership established with Tanzania.


Mbowa Kalengayi, Max Essex, Souleymane M'boup,
Mbowa Kalengayi, Max Essex, Souleymane M’boup, editors, with Phyllis Kanki, of AIDS in Africa

HAI’s Vaccine Think Tank series begins. This conference series addressed the challenge of creating HIV vaccines for worldwide use.

Publication of AIDS in Africa, a comprehensive AIDS reference book for public health and medical officials.

Research Discovery: Demonstration that HIV-2 is transmitted much less efficiently than HIV-1, causes AIDS less often.


Research Discovery: Demonstration that HIV-2 can partially protect against HIV-1 infection, showing for the first time in humans that vaccine protection against HIV-1 may be possible.


President Festus Mogae
President Festus Mogae

The Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership, a collaborative research and training initiative between the Government of Botswana and HAI, is formed.


HAI scientists draw attention to the importance of ethics in design of placebo-controlled trial for developing countries in The New England Journal of Medicine.


Enhancing Care Initiatives CountriesThe Enhancing Care Initiative, a five-year initiative funded by Merck and the U.S Health Resources and Services Administration, begins work with teams in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Senegal, South Africa and Thailand to enhance the care of people living with HIV and AIDS in resource-scarce countries.


Oak Foundation gives HAI $2.5 million for Southern African Research and Training Program.

Drs Phyllis Kanki, Max Essex, Ric Marlink
Drs Phyllis Kanki, Max Essex, Ric Marlink

Research Discovery: Evidence that HIV-1 subtypes differ in rate of transmission and disease progression.


At the request of the Government of Botswana, the Ministry of Health and HAI establishes the KITSO AIDS Training Program (“KITSO” means “knowledge” in Setswana) in response to the expanding HIV epidemic and the lack of continuing medical education available to health professionals.

Thailand adopts a chemoprophylaxis regimen identified by a Harvard trial as the national standard for AIDS treatment.

Research Discovery: Evidence that longer use of zidovidine during pregnancy reduces HIV infection rate in infants. Published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Official partnership established with Nigeria.

Yichen Lu of HAI and Ruan Li, Director of the Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, establish joint laboratories working on AIDS vaccine research and development for China and Africa.

“Africa Now!” A Leadership Summit to Define Africa Priorities for AIDS, held in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. APIN, led by Professor Phyllis Kanki, seeks to develop major HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention programs in Nigeria.

Research Discovery: First infectious molecular clone of HIV-1C from an African isolate. First Simian/Human Immunodeficiency Virus (SHIV) chimera based on HIV-1C of African origin.

Brazilian ECI AIDS Care Team presents research to national forum on the state of HIV and AIDS care for women in São Paulo and Santos, Brazil.

Launch of KITSO Antiretroviral Therapy Course for Physicians.

Dedication of the new Botswana-Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory, in Gaborone, Botswana. It is the first dedicated HIV research lab in southern Africa.

Botswana-Harvard Partnership initiates a randomized trial in Botswana known as the Mashi Study (“Mashi” means “milk” in Setswana) to evaluate the effects of medication and breastfeeding on mother to infant transmission.


HAI’s China Initiative, the first Chinese recipient of an AIDS grant from the U.S. NIH, becomes part of Chinese National AIDS Program.

The Tshepo Study (“Tshepo” means “hope” in Setswana), the first large-scale research study that aims to assess the emergence of drug resistance to and the tolerability of different protease inhibitor sparing highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) regimens, begins

Research Discovery: Identification of pieces of HIV most likely to be more effective for design of HIV vaccine.

AIDS in Africa” second edition published.


First volunteers are injected with vaccine in Phase 1 of the Botswana HIV Vaccine Trial.

KITSO trains its 1000th health care worker in Botswana.

Dr. Phyllis Kanki prepares successful grant application for the Harvard PEPFAR, “Rapid Expansion of Antiretroviral Therapy Program.”


KITSO trains its 3000th health care worker in Botswana.

BHP helps in treating more than 11,000 HIV-infected patients in the Botswana national ARV treatment program.

AIDS in Asia“, a comprehensive AIDS reference book for public health and medical professionals, is published.

First Dean’s Trip to Botswana for HSPH Supporters.

Research Discoveries: Evidence that HIV-1 subtypes have different timing patterns for mother-to-infant transmission. Also, evidence that multivitamin combinations can prolong life in HIV positive women published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

First roundtable on “Economic Evaluation of ARV Programs in Southern Africa” is held in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.


“HIV Vaccines for Developing Countries: Analysis of Acute and Early Infections” meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya


Botswana-Harvard Parntership marks 10th anniversary.

“HIV/AIDS Interventions in Developing Countries: Using Cost Benefit and Cost Effectiveness to Help Guide Policy and Action” conference takes place in Boston.

Research Discovery: Evidence that prophylactic drugs to infants can reduce rates of breastfeeding transmissions.

Research Discovery: Evidence that a 6-month delay of nevirapine-containing HAART for postnatal women can greatly improve treatment success.


“AIDS Action and Botswana: Lessons in Capacity Building and Importance of Research” conference held in Botswana for government leaders from southern Africa.

The Botswana-Harvard AIDS Initiative Partnership becomes an independent corporation.

Three Harvard undergrads participate in the study abroad program at Botswana–Harvard Partnership.

Study published in The New England Journal of Medicine shows best drug regimen for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in resource poor settings, while decreasing risk of drug resistance for mother.


KITSO trains its 5000th health care worker in Botswana.

Study by Max Essex and Pride Chigwedere estimates that the 320,000 deaths from HIV/AIDS in South Africa are due to Mbeki’s policies.


A Line Drawn in the Sand, edited by HAI researchers Phyllis Kanki and Richard Marlink, highlights the ARV programs in African countries that are bringing antiretroviral drugs to their citizens.

Harvard President Drew Faust visits the Botswana–Harvard Partnership, the first visit of a sitting Harvard President to Africa.


HAI study finds that women taking antiretroviral drug combinations can breastfeed with minimal risk of transmission of HIV/AIDS to their infants.

Publication of Saturday Is for Funerals, a book that views the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the lenses of personal stories and science.


HAI and the Harvard School of Public Health teamed up to host AIDS@30, a symposium marking the 30th anniversary of AIDS.


President Sirleaf of Liberia
President Sirleaf of Liberia

President of Liberia visit Botswana Harvard Partnership.

To better model how HIV moves within a community, HAI researchers develop new computer models and genetic tracing methods.



Logo for Botswana Combination Prevention ProjectLaunch of the Botswana Combination Prevention Project, a large clinical trial to determine whether combining and strengthening HIV prevention methods can prevent the spread of HIV within a community more effectively than using standard methods alone.


HAI marks its 25th year of working to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide.


TasP LogoHAI organizes the first Treatment as Prevention in Africa workshop in Gaborone, Botswana, bringing together teams from the large TasP clinical trials to compare notes and coordinate reporting.