March 16th, 2005

FRONTLINE: The Age of AIDS

Interview with FRONTLINE

When did you first encounter HIV, and what got you so passionate about this?

Of course, like everyone else, I was reading about this new and terrible disease, basically from the start of the public announcements, and understanding and watchful of what was happening in the United States. But I did not think very much about AIDS in my professional capacity until I started working in Africa. That was in the mid-1990s.

One of the first stops for me as a newcomer to Africa was in Zambia. Harvard University at the time had a project with the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance in Zambia, and when I got to Lusaka, my colleagues there told me that eight of the 30 counterparts or so had died of AIDS in the past couple of years. I was dumbfounded, of course. I had never experienced anything like this in an economic development project. This was something completely new, utterly shocking. And this was for me the jolt to begin to understand what was really happening in Africa.

Over time I started to look more deeply, of course. I said, well, why is it that people just don’t show up to work at some point and then they’re quickly dead? …

Read full interview in FRONTLINE.

 

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