Anthony Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He is an immunologist who has made substantial contributions to research on AIDS and other immunodeficiencies. He has pioneered the field of human immunoregulation and developed effective therapies for formally fatal inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases. In the field of AIDS research, he has helped contribute to an understanding of how the AIDS virus destroys the body's defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections.
He has also served as an editor of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine and has authored, coauthored or edited more than 1,100 scientific publications, including several textbooks. Dr. Fauci is a key advisor to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues and public health protections against emerging infectious disease threats, such as pandemic influenza. He was educated at Cornell University Medical College and holds 32 honorary doctorate degrees.
Question: How do we address AIDS in Africa?
Anthony Fauci: One of the things that I’m most proud of is something that is on the border between policy and science. And that is that a few years ago, in 2002, when we had the drugs available in the developed world to have a major transforming impact on HIV/AIDS, we started to question what could be done in the developing world – particularly Sub Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. And Tommy Thompson and I were sent to Sub Saharan African countries by President [George W.] Bush to look around and come back with a proposal of how the United States government might help in the arena of HIV/AIDS to those countries that are poor and don’t have the resources that we do.
And we came back with a proposal first to try and block mother to child transmission of HIV. We presented it to the President and his closest advisors. They accepted it.
But then they said they wanted to do something even much more broad than that with a much greater impact. And I spent a lot of time on that – probably about six or seven months of my life working hard on that, which was well worth it – to put together a program of how we can get drugs, prevention, and care to millions of people in Sub Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. And we worked on it, presented it to the President, and with a lot of help from a lot people inside government, outside of government, faith-based organizations, advisors to the President, and people who really cared about it who were able to get the program to be accepted by the President, and to put it into effect by law. And that is the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – or PEPFAR – which started out as a $15 billion dollar program over five years, which the president has now doubled to a $30 billion dollar program for the next five years, to aim at preventing millions of infections, treating millions of people, and caring for people.
It has been a huge success.
The fact that I played a role in getting the thing developed, established and implemented is something that I feel very good about.
Recorded On: July 6 2007