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Prof. James Hakim, the past immediate chair of the Scientific Program of the International Conference on AIDS and STI’s in Africa, held in Harare, Zimbabwe (ICASA 2015) was honored at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2017) in Seattle USA for his collaborative & pioneering in HIV/AIDS research in Zimbabwe.
In delivering his N’Galy-Mann Lecture, he highlighted that amidst crippling economic inflation and political denial that set additional hurdles in the way of effective responses to the HIV pandemic in Zimbabwe, his own course was influenced and redirected by his country’s epidemic, from a planned career in cardiology to realizing he had to learn about HIV if he was to help at all. He told a familiar story of devastation, followed by a story that unwound more slowly, of collaboration and progress and more than two decades of scientific partnerships in the years that followed Zimbabwe’s first confirmed case of HIV in 1986. Those collaborations, in turn, through the HIV Prevention Trials Network, the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, The International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group, the Microbicides Trials Network, and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, have produced findings that have changed the course of HIV prevention, care, treatment and policies worldwide. In Zimbabwe, those changes, in turn, will be supported by about one hundred new health practitioners trained through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative established under U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby in 2010. The initiative, Dr. Hakim noted, is just beginning to address the inequities and global health threats that happen when a region is home to more than a quarter of the world’s disease burden, but just three percent of the world’s health workforce. The challenges they face include sustaining the drops in deaths and new infections the country has achieved, and ensuring that progress can be tracked.
The Executive Board of the Society For AIDS in Africa, SAA, join hands in congratulating Prof. James Hakim, Past Chair of the Scientific Program of ICASA 2015 Harare, for being acknowledged for his pioneering strides in the field of HIV/AIDS Research in Zimbabwe.