Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, is one of the world’s leading experts in HIV and tuberculosis care and treatment. An infectious disease specialist, she directs the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) and the Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiologic Research at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and is chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Harlem Hospital Center. Dr. El-Sadr has led early trials studying antimicrobial gels that aim to inhibit HIV transmission, and is known internationally for her leadership in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. She is a 2008 MacArthur Foundation fellow and has held several leadership posts at the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association.
Thirty years ago this past Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first cases of what would become HIV in its publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Science Speaks interviewed Dr. El-Sadr as part of its special series commemorating 30 years of AIDS, and she discusses the parallels in treating populations in the U.S. and in Africa, the greatest achievements in the epidemic’s 30 years, and what drew her to the cause.