Remembering Professor James Hakim and Professor David Katzenstein

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IAS – the International AIDS Society – mourns the passing of two world-leading HIV scientists, David Katzenstein, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, and James Hakim, Professor of Medicine at the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, who died from COVID-19 related complications.

“We send our deepest condolences to David’s and James’ families and loved ones at this difficult time,” said Adeeba Kamarulzaman, President of the IAS. “In the last few days, we have lost two great HIV scientists and humanitarians to COVID-19. Both are giants in our field who have made significant contributions to advance HIV research and science, improving the lives of people living with HIV across the world. This is such a great loss for the HIV community and beyond.”

Dr David Katzenstein, a well-respected and revered HIV researcher, sadly passed away on Monday 25 January. A life-long IAS member, Dr Katzenstein made important contributions with his research focused on the treatment and evaluation of HIV infection, including clinical trials to collect data on the long-term impacts of adults living with HIV.

Just days later, the HIV community mourns the loss of another renowned HIV scientist and researcher to COVID-19, Professor Hakim. He served as an elected African representative on the IAS Governing Council from 2016 to 2020 and dedicated his life to HIV research across antiretroviral therapy, prevention, opportunistic infections and long term complications of HIV. Professor Hakim has contributed to seminal HIV research with more than 150 publications and international communications, and was honoured with the Ward Cates Spirit Award in 2019 for his outstanding commitment and leadership to health as a right, scientific excellence, and generosity in mentorship and support.

“These two wonderful doctors made a difference to HIV health care in Africa and in the world – we cannot begin to quantify the loss,” said Linda-Gail Bekker, Past President of the IAS. “I will always remember them for their compassion and commitment to the field and to humanity. COVID-19 is a terrible thief.” 

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