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AIDS: 25 Years & Still Counting


Dr. Michael Gottlieb


Topic: AIDS 25 Years & Still Counting

Yes, Americans are still dying, too! This week's show is dedicated to the memory of the hundreds of friends I have lost to HIV/AIDS over the last 25 years, in particular, my friend and colleague Brian Miller, PhD (October, 1950 - April, 2006). Brian maintained a private practice in West Hollywood from 1980 until his death in April, from AIDS. From 1983-1985, he wrote the popular gay men's mental health column, "Out for Good", for Edge Magazine. Above all, Brian Miller will be remembered for the calm, compassionate bearing that made him a dear colleague and friend. He is survived by his partner of 24 years, writer Bernard Cooper. 

Guest: Dr. Michael Gottlieb

It has been a quarter century since Dr. Michael Gottlieb, a 33 year old immunologist at UCLA, began to puzzle over a handful of cases of unexplained pneumonia in previously healthy men. The cause was Pneumocystis, a rare infection observed only in patients with severe immune deficiencies. These patients were deficient in CD-4 cells, critical white blood cells that activate the body’s defenses. Because of the public health importance, he published a brief report on June 5, 1981, in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report. The date of that report is the official start date of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Later that year he published a detailed paper in the New England Journal of Medicine. He because the first physician to describe a new disease that would later become known as AIDS.

Dr. Gottlieb has been involved with AIDS for the life of the epidemic. Over the ensuing 25 years he has remained prominent in HIV treatment and research. He was physician to Rock Hudson, and following the actor’s death from AIDS, joined with Elizabeth Taylor to launch the American Foundation for AIDS Research. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Pediatric AIDS Foundation established by his patient Elizabeth Glaser. Dr. Gottlieb is prominently featured in the book And the Band Played On, a chronicle of the early years of the AIDS epidemic written by the late Randy Shilts.

Dr. Gottlieb has a unique perspective as one of the first researchers to test antiviral drugs targeting HIV and continues as a investigator in HIV clinical research. He is an author on more than 60 publications in medical journals including a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

He has been in the private practice of medicine since 1987, and teaches at the medical school at UCLA. Dr. Gottlieb is a trustee of the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA), a not-for-profit organization that conducts HIV/AIDS relief in Malawi.


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