Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

AIDS: Dr. Phair: A warrior fighting HIV/AIDS
AIDS@30: A special series in partnership with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago
by Tully Satre
2011-09-14

This article shared 5818 times since Wed Sep 14, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In the field of HIV/AIDS, Chicago-based Dr. John Phair is a familiar name.

He spearheaded research with the National Institute of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study ( MACS ) in 1983. MACS provided groundbreaking contributions to understanding HIV/AIDS through studying the natural and treated history of the HIV infection.

He applied for and received funding from the NIAID to establish the Chicago Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Unit in 1987. Phair served as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group, overseeing the scientific, administrative, and fiscal decisions of the network during the early stages of therapy.

He was the Chair for the AIDS Research Advisory Committee for the NIAID from 2000 to 2002.

In 2005, Phair was honored by the American College of Physicians with the John Phillips Memorial Award for Outstanding Work in Clinical Medicine. It was certainly not the first time Phair was recognized for his extraordinary impact on HIV/AIDS treatment and research, and would surely not be the last. In the Spring of 2010 Phair became the first recipient of the International AIDS Society—USA Lifetime Leadership Award.

"My interests were focused mainly on complications of HIV infection," said Phair about when he first became involved in treating HIV/AIDS patients. "When HIV infects and you can't treat it, it destroys the ability of the body to resists other infections."

Much of Phair's work was not directly with the virus, but with the complications that resulted from infection.

After graduating from Yale University, Phair attended medical school in his hometown at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Upon completing his studies in 1960, Phair returned to Connecticut to do his residency at the Yale New Haven Hospital where he first began training in internal medicine and infectious disease.

"This was a part of medicine in which we had treatment," Phair explained of the work he started during his residency. "So people basically did well. We could manage to make people better."

In 1967, he joined the faculty at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he remained for just under a decade before accepting the position of Chair of the Division of Infectious Disease and Director of the Samuel J. Sackett Laboratories at the Fineberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

"My research prior to my involvement with HIV was focused upon the immunology of infections," Phair said. "David Ostrow [ who helped form the Howard Brown Health Center ] approached me and asked whether I knew anything about this disease that was killing gay men. I had seen a couple of cases at Northwestern, but because of my immunology research, I was interested."

Before encountering HIV/AIDS, most of the infectious diseases Phair worked with were easily treated with antibiotics or other medicines. "AIDS came along and it became apparent that there was no longer treatment," Phair recalled. "In that period because of fear and the novelty of [ HIV/AIDS ] , infectious diseases at Northwestern became the group who managed patients who came to Northwestern with what we came to know as AIDS."

Initially, Phair helped carry out a small study at the Howard Brown Health Center ( then known as Howard Brown Memorial Clinic ) , which did not yield substantial results. However, it lead to an application to the National Institute of Health, and in 1983, with Dr. Ostrow spearheading the move, the NIH started the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study ( MACS ) . Dr. Phair was appointed principal investigator of the Chicago part of the study, which worked in collaboration with other researchers and investigators around the country.

"AIDS was basically a change in the whole focus of infectious disease," Phair said, recalling the shift in thought that AIDS had on the medical field. "Before [ HIV/AIDS ] we had been consultants; we saw patients and we would recommend therapy and they would get better. Now we became the primary care physicians for a group of people who we could not really do anything for."

"We had to care for people, rather than treat people," said Phair. "It was a shock in the 1980s not to be able to do something for somebody … it was a very tough time." Phair said that most patients with AIDS at Northwestern were gay men. "All of us were impressed by their grace, and courage," Phair said of his early patients, "and altruism … wanting to participate in research to respond to this epidemic."

For the first six to seven years, there was very little that could be done to help patients with AIDS. "All we could really do was hold their hand," said Phair.

In 1987, Dr. Phair applied for funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ( a division of the NIH ) to open a center for experimental treatment in Chicago. The center was setup at Northwestern in relationship with Rush Medical and was a part of the larger AIDS Clinical Trials Group, a network of more than 30 universities, which was established by the NIH. The Chicago Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Unit was established on the horizon of successful treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS. The introduction of AZT to the pharmaceutical market was a breakthrough, "but not perfect," Phair emphasized.

AZT alone did not make much of an impact and it often came with many side effects. It was not until 1995 that new drugs were introduced, which combined with existing drugs at the time provided a treatment that controlled the virus, if taken religiously.

"The initial cocktails were very difficult to take," said Phair. "Drugs today are better, with less side effects. And they're easier to take: one pill, once a day as opposed to the 15 to 20 pills a day in 1995."

But even the safer drugs still have side effects, Phair warns. As HIV infections continue to rise, particularly among a young MSM ( men-who-have-sex-with-men ) demographic, Phair stressed the importance of being safe. "Even though life expectancy is closer to what you'd expect if you weren't infected … life is still shortened a little bit," said Phair. Additionally there are several complications that result from side effects of drugs used today to treat HIV including heart, kidney and liver diseases. "While the drugs suppress the virus," Phair explained, "some of the deleterious effects of HIV infection continue [ and ] chronic infection can lead to complications."

Recent studies across the board have continued to show a dramatic increase in HIV infections for men who have sex with men, particularly among men their 20s. "I think in the '80s when men saw their friends dying it made an impact," Phair said. "The men who were alive and survived those early days are older and the younger men [ today ] don't have that experience. They're not seeing their friends die, so they sometimes don't buy into the message of the necessity of safe-sex and safe behaviors in general. They also think the drugs [ used to treat HIV ] solve things … and people get tired of being careful. There has been some slippage of safe behavior. I think we still have a great number of people with new infections who are gay men."

After 30 years, the response to the disease once dubbed "gay cancer" has seen great progress due to the efforts of people such as Dr. Phair. But the responsibility for the disease has shifted on a different generation.

Demonstrating numerous accomplishments and contributions to HIV/AIDS research, Phair officially stepped down in 2000 as head of the Division of Infectious Disease, and the Samuel J. Sackett Laboratories at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Dr. Phair continues to work with MACS, but no longer takes responsibility for the treatment center.

Still active today, MACS, which moved to Northwestern after funding controversies at Howard Brown Health Center in 2010 ( HBHC is now a subcontractor ) , is the longest running study of people living with HIV/AIDS. With nearly 7,000 initial participants, MACS studied the long-term effects of HIV and treatment in gay men. As of 2009, the study enrolled just above 2,500 participants, with several of the participants having passed away from AIDS-related illnesses, or having dropped out altogether.

MACS boasts a number of contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS including more than 1100 peer reviewed publications, which have greatly increased awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS.


This article shared 5818 times since Wed Sep 14, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

AIDS Foundation Chicago, Cook County Health mark World AIDS Day 2020-11-30
--From a press release - AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) and Cook County Health are collaborating for a special virtual event in honor of World AIDS Day, a global movement to increase public awareness and dialogue about HIV and AIDS, on Dec. ...


Gay News

Day With(out) Art: Transmissions launches online Nov. 30 2020-11-18
--From a press release - NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2020 — Visual AIDS, the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS and HIV awareness through dialogue, art exhibitions and public forums, announces their ...


Gay News

Congressional co-chairs introduce World AIDS Day resolution 2020-11-18
- U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon (PR-At Large), co-chairs of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, introduced a bipartisan resolution supporting the goals of World AIDS Day, according ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker, Vanessa Williams to be at AFC's 'Gala35' Nov. 19 2020-11-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO — AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) marks its milestone 35th year of service with 'Gala35,' a virtual celebration and fundraiser taking place Thursday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. The event features an esteemed panel of guest ...


Gay News

Advocate Craig Johnson named next board chair of AIDS Foundation of Chicago 2020-11-01
- In October, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC)'s board of directors voted Craig W. Johnson as the next AFC board chair. Craig has served on the board since 2017, and most recently worked as board vice chair and ...


Gay News

AIDS Foundation of Chicago's 'Gala35' Nov. 19 2020-10-25
- AIDS Foundation of Chicago's (AFC's) "Gala35"—marking its 35th anniversary—will be a virtual event taking place Thursday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. Gala35 marks the organization's 35th year of service and will be its premier gatheri ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Autistic trans guide, trans death, AIDS Quilt, intersex study 2020-10-19
- The National LGBTQ Task Force and the AWNNetwork released a collaborative guide, "Before You Go: Know Your Rights & What to Expect at the Doctor and in the Hospital"—a groundbreaking first-of-its-kind publication filled with tips and ...


Gay News

TPAN names Colleen O'Neill as its new CEO 2020-10-15
- TPAN has announced the hiring of Colleen O'Neill as its new CEO to assist in empowering the organization to continue to provide care and far-reaching education to people affected by HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and all related issues, ...


Gay News

Nat'l AIDS Memorial to launch 50-state AIDS Memorial Quilt Virtual Exhibition 2020-10-09
--From a press release - SAN FRANCISCO (October 9, 2020) — The National AIDS Memorial is announcing a virtual exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt (the Quilt) that will feature more than 10,000 Quilt panels representing all 50 state and U.S. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Timothy Ray Brown, who was cured of HIV, dies of cancer at 54 2020-10-01
- After a five-month battle with leukemia, Timothy Ray Brown—publicized as the first known person to be cured of HIV, and also known by many as "The Berlin Patient"—has died of cancer, according to the International AIDS ...


Gay News

NBJC releases statement on National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2020-09-27
- In honor of National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Sept. 27), the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) released a statement: "Today is a day to celebrate that HIV is no longer the death sentence it once ...


Gay News

AIDS Run & Walk Chicago returns with reformatted 2020 event 2020-09-24
- AIDS Foundation of Chicago's annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago has been reformatted and expanded so community members can participate in the fundraiser while still social-distancing and adhering to public-safety guidelines. While an event at Soldier ...


Gay News

Chicago House moves central hub 2020-09-03
- Chicago House—founded in September 1985 as an organization committed to providing a home to individuals dying of HIV—has relocated its central hub to the South Loop, at 2229 S. Michigan Ave., Ste. 304. The central hub ...


Gay News

WORLD Tom of Finland, India items, Denmark legislation, PrEP study 2020-09-02
- The works of the iconic Finnish artist Tom of Finland will be exhibited in Japan for the first time ever, a press release noted. The exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Finnish Institute ...


Gay News

Open House Chicago taking place Oct. 16-25 2020-08-18
- The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) announced the return of Open House Chicago (OHC) for a 10th consecutive year. It will take place Oct. 16-25, and the festival has been reconfigured for both in-person and remote attendance. ...


 



Copyright © 2020 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


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.