For Immediate Release
New York, NY, Monday 22 August 2022
Treatment Action Group (TAG) meets with sadness the announcement by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of his retirement as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, and Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, effective in December 2022.
TAG has worked with Dr. Fauci since our foundation in the darkest days of the AIDS pandemic in the United States in the early 1990s to accelerate research to effectively treat and prevent HIV infection. After a difficult beginning at NIAID during the Reagan administration as the AIDS caseload mounted inexorably, and challenging early negotiations with HIV community activists focused on broadening the NIH AIDS research agenda and ensuring the inclusion of all people living with HIV in the research process, Dr. Fauci made history by bringing people with HIV and allied advocates into the system. Working with TAG and other community groups, Dr. Fauci was part of the research effort which led to the discovery and roll-out of effective anti-HIV therapy beginning in 1996.
TAG Executive Director Mark Harrington said, “Working with — and sometimes advocating heatedly — with Dr. Fauci has led to great progress against HIV, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases over the past three decades. Over that time Dr. Fauci has become not only a trusted colleague but a friend to whom I and countless others owe great thanks for his support, medical advice, and scientific leadership. While many other scientists would have remained defensive and opposed community involvement in the most difficult years of the U.S. AIDS crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dr. Fauci took a different path — one of greater inclusion, collaboration,and partnership. We are grateful for his decades of leadership at NIH and look forward to his next chapter.”
Among Dr. Fauci’s greatest accomplishments was the establishment in the early 2000s of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), America’s largest and most successful global health program, which has put 28.5 million people living with HIV on life-saving anti-HIV therapy, and prevented millions of new HIV infections.
Dr. Fauci has been a key TAG ally in expanding NIH and NIAID investment in research to better treat and prevent tuberculosis – once again the leading killer infectious disease (along with COVID-19) – over the past two decades.
His work on the basic science of HIV infection, including how and where HIV replicates as it persists and destroys the immune system – has also had a lasting impact on infectious disease research.
No account of Dr. Fauci’s life work would be complete without acknowledging his leadership of scientific efforts by NIH and others to discover and develop effective vaccines against many emerging infectious diseases, including Ebola and, more recently, COVID-19.
The past years have seen a surge in shameful attacks on public health and the scientific process. These destructive efforts have included unfounded accusations against Dr. Fauci and NIAID.
TAG will continue to champion inclusive and participatory research against all infectious diseases, and to fight for people affected by them to have equitable access to the benefits of scientific progress.
We wish all the best to Dr. Fauci, his wife, Dr. Christine Grady, and their family, and look forward to continuing our common work to end AIDS, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis.
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