Office of NIH History
In Their Own Words: NIH Researchers Recall the Early Years of AIDS
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Peter Piot, M.D., Ph.D.

In the late 1970s/early 1980s, Dr Peter Piot saw an increasing number of patients from Central Africa with a uniformly fatal disease in Antwerp,Belgium.  After AIDS was identified by the medical community, he traveled to Africa and conducted some of the earliest research done in  Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Kenya.  Subsequently, he became the founding director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, known as UNAIDS, and led it through the massive task of addressing AIDS throughout the world.  Under his direction, UNAIDS became the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS and spearheaded UN reform by bringing together ten different UN agencies in the effort.

Dr. Piot, who was born in 1949 in Leuven, Belgium, received his M.D. in 1974 from the University of Ghent and a Ph.D. in microbiology in 1980 from the University of Antwerp.  In 1976, he investigated an epidemic in central Africa and became the co-discoverer of the Ebola virus.  From 1980-92 he served on the faculty at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp and intermittently held positions at the University of Nariobi, and the University of Washington, Seattle. He came to the United Nations in 1992 as Associate Director of the Global Programme on AIDS of the World Health Organization.  Two years later he was appointed Executive Director of UNAIDS and an Under Secretary General of the United Nations.  From 1991-94, he served as president of the International AIDS Society.  His autobiography was published in 2012 as No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses.

In January 2009, Dr. Piot resigned from UNAIDS to create an institute of global health at Imperial College London.  In 2010 he was appointed Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Professor of Global Health. 

 

Transcript of Interview:
Dr. Peter Piot, January 4, 2008

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Transcript of Interviews:
Dr. Peter Piot, April 8, 2009

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Transcript of Interview:
Dr. Peter Piot, June 16, 2010

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Peter Piot
Peter Piot, M.D., Ph.D.
       
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