Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

HIV at 40: Dr. Anthony Fauci on the early days of another pandemic
by Andrew Davis
2021-06-10

This article shared 1763 times since Thu Jun 10, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Dr. Anthony Fauci has been called "America's doctor"—and with good reason. His face and advice regarding COVID have seemingly been omnipresent since the virus affected the masses early in 2020.

However, decades before the word "coronavirus" became known to the public, the current director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)/chief medical advisor to the president was on the forefront in the scientific battle against another emerging pandemic: HIV/AIDS. (In fact, it was because of HIV/AIDS that Fauci has advised every president since Ronald Reagan, who was chief executive when this disease devastated so many in the 1980s.)

Windy City Times talked with Fauci about the early days of the HIV/AIDS pandemic—but the conversation started with a question about his current condition.

Windy City Times: After seemingly being the face of COVID medical advice for the past year, how are you physically and mentally?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: You know, it's been interesting, Andrew. It's been a surrealistic year. I have not had a day off in 15 months, and it's almost like you're in a zone. You know how basketball players make all those shots and they say you're in a zone—like with Michael Jordan?

WCT: Yeah. They also called it being "unconscious."

Fauci: Exactly. That's the way it is now with me. The work we're doing is so important and there's so much suffering that you don't think about anything else than doing something about it. You don't dwell on the fact that you're tired or need sleep—you just do it.

When this is over—and that will happen at some point—we're going to look back and ask, "How the hell did we do that?"

WCT: Regarding HIV, take me back to when you first heard about AIDS, in 1981.

Fauci: It's totally embedded in my mind because I've thought about it and lived it over and over again.

I was sitting in my office at the NIH [National Institutes of Health] clinical center, where my laboratory was at the time. It was the first week of June in 1981, and I saw the MMWR [The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report], which described this extraordinary and interesting report of fine young men—and, curiously, all gay men—who were previously well but developed this condition called pneumocystis pneumonia.

Now, at the time, I had been at the NIH for nine years and I had been board-certified in infectious diseases, clinical immunology and internal medicine. I was the infection-diseases consultant, with several of my colleagues, at the clinic. We used to see cancer patients who were immunosuppressed with chemotherapy, and several of them would get pneumocystis, so right away I knew that [those with AIDS] had to be severely immunosuppressed. I thought that it had to be a fluke or maybe some drug they were taking, like poppers.

One month later, in the first week of July, what I believe was the transforming event in my career happened—when I got the second MMWR. That one described 26 young men who were all gay. They weren't just from Los Angeles; they were also from San Francisco and New York [City], and they presented pneumocystis as well as other opportunistic infections. That's when I got goosebumps because I realized this was a new disease and it was sexually transmitted. Then I thought about it for a while: I'm an immunologist, and this is an infectious disease without a name or etiology—because it's 1981—but if what I think is going to happen actually happens, it's going to explode not just in the gay community, but throughout the world.

I decided to change the direction of my career later that summer, and I was on a pretty steep pathway toward a very successful career in immunology and infectious diseases. I remember that my mentors asked, "What are you doing? You're throwing away this incredibly promising career. Why are you studying this disease that's a fluke? It's going to go away." And I said, "It's not going to go away." I even wrote a paper at the end of 1981 (and it was published in 1982). I said, "Anyone who thinks this disease is automatically going to disappear doesn't really know what they're talking about." Unfortunately, that was one of the most prophetic things I've ever [stated].

Then, as the years went by, things got worse and worse—and my career got enveloped in studying this strange disease. In 1984, when the position of NIAID director became available—a job I still have, 37 years later—I realized the impact I could have because I could put a major emphasis on AIDS.

WCT: But you, and President Reagan, did get some blowback from the LGBTQ community.

Fauci: Oh, yeah—and it was pretty clear why. I was one of the few people who was out there and very visible, talking about increasing support. I would go into the community and was on TV and the radio. So I became the face of the federal government. So activists said, "We're not part of the dialogue. We want our concerns addressed."

Nobody in the scientific community was paying attention to them. So in order to get attention—in what I thought was a smart move—[the activists] became very confrontational and provocative, and made me a target because I was a federal person. Larry Kramer called me a murderer and an incompetent idiot—and they certainly got my attention.

What I did was get past the theatrics and confrontations, and start to listen to what they said. And once I started to listen, it made perfect sense. I'm talking with you on the phone and I'm almost at the conference room where I first invited them in, in the late '80s. They went gradually from totally attacking me to developing a cordial relationship to having a collaboration. Now, 37 years later, some of those activists are my best friends. [Laughs] It's been an interesting evolution.

WCT: Did you think the world would be marking the 40th anniversary of HIV/AIDS with no cure or vaccine?

Fauci: I erred in my estimation in two ways.

I thought we'd have a vaccine much sooner. But I never thought we'd have such spectacular therapies, where you could treat somebody with a single pill for the rest of their lives. Not only can levels be brought so low that they're undetectable and people can live lives that are practically normal, but it can be practically impossible for them to transmit the virus to someone else.

So I underestimated how well we would do with therapy, but I overestimated the situation with the vaccine because, at that time, we didn't realize the virus has this spectacular ability to integrate itself into the genome of the cell. Once it does that, you can't get rid of it. When the body doesn't want to make a good response against HIV, it's hard to make a vaccine against it. So, it's been very interesting.


This article shared 1763 times since Thu Jun 10, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Cook County officials discuss MPV timelines
2022-08-12
Members of the Cook County Health and Hospitals Committee gathered Aug. 8 to hear details from local health officials on the monkeypox virus' (MPV's) impact on both suburban Cook County and Chicago, and their planned responses. ...


Gay News

Monkeypox vaccine events being held Aug. 13-14
2022-08-12
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), along with City Colleges, will be holding monkeypox (MPV) vaccination events. The two events will be held at Malcolm X College on the West Side and Kennedy-King College on ...


Gay News

Young LGBQ adults experience more psychological distress than older LGBQ people
2022-08-11
-- From a Williams Institute press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults are physically healthier but have worse psychological distress than older LGBQ people. Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health employees win union election
2022-08-11
More than 470 employees at Chicago-based Howard Brown Health clinics, Broadway Youth Center and Brown Elephant retail locations announced Aug. 10 that they have won their union election, with 97% of the votes cast. This is ...


Gay News

Big Cities Health Coalition holds monkeypox virus briefing
2022-08-11
Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) held a virtual monkeypox virus briefing Aug. 10 fthat ocused on local public health activities in Chicago. Speakers included BCHC Executive Director Chrissie Juliano and BCHC member and Chicago Department of ...


Gay News

Center on Halsted hosting monkeypox vaccine clinics
2022-08-10
Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., continues its monkeypox vaccine clinics through August. These clinics are for first-dose vaccinations only. Online registration for each clinic opens at 10 a.m. each Wednesday prior to that respective ...


Gay News

Dance for Life 2022 taking place Aug. 13 at the Auditorium Theatre
2022-08-09
-- From a press release - Chicago Dancers United (CDU), which supports the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance community, presents seven companies and a world premiere finale for its 31st annual fundraiser, Dance for Life 2022. The event takes place ...


Gay News

Montreal Pride Parade is canceled
2022-08-08
Citing security concerns, the organizers of the Fierte Montreal Pride Parade abruptly canceled the Aug. 7 event at the last minute, The Washington Blade reported. The other events scheduled at the Esplanade of the Olympic Park—T-Dance ...


Gay News

Kinsey Institute exhibiting iconic Tom Fox HIV/AIDS photo series
2022-08-05
An exhibition of 60 iconic photographs documenting Indiana University alumnus Tom Fox's battle with AIDS in the late 1980s will hang in the Grand Hall of Maxwell Hall on the Indiana University-Bloomington campus. "Wild Horse Running: ...


Gay News

CDPH, community partners provide monkeypox update as Market Days nears
2022-08-05
With the event known as Northalsted Market Days happening Aug. 6-7—and with tens of thousands of people expected to attend—the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and community partners held a press conference Aug. 4 about ...


Gay News

Sinema plans to sign on Senate Democrats' climate, health and tax bill
2022-08-05
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) announced Aug. 4 that she will "move forward" with Democrats' massive climate, prescription drug and spending bill, after fellow party members appeared to reach an agreement about her concerns with the ...


Gay News

Cook County Commissioner Morrison calls for hearing to address monkeypox outbreak
2022-08-04
-- From a press release - SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — Aug, 4, 2022 —Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison (District 15) has introduced a resolution calling for a public hearing in the Cook County Health and Hospitals Committee that will convene Monday, Aug. 8, ...


Gay News

Judge: W. Va.'s Medicaid program must cover transgender care
2022-08-04
In West Virginia, U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers ruled that the state's Medicaid program must provide coverage for gender-confirming care for transgender residents, ABC News reported. Chambers made the ruling on Aug. 2 in a lawsuit ...


Gay News

The Chicago Sky launch The Net: A Mental Health Initiative
2022-08-03
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (Aug. 3, 2022)—As issues of mental health make headlines in sport—and women's sports in particular—the WNBA championship team Chicago Sky launched "The Net," (A Network of Mental Health Support in ...


Gay News

HRC commends White House Monkeypox (MPV) Coordinator appointments; calls for greater federal response
2022-08-02
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, commended the Biden Administration for appointing Robert Fenton and ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.