Dr. Anthony Fauci has become one of the most recognizable faces of America’s coronavirus response, as a member of the White House coronavirus task force and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But it was an earlier crisis that shaped his career — and that’s crucial to understanding his position today.
As the above video shows, Dr. Fauci’s involvement in the AIDS crisis, from the virus’s discovery to the present day, has affected the course of his career and the way the disease is treated around the world. That history, in turn, informs how we learn about and treat the coronavirus in the US today.
In addition to scientific progress, AIDS also necessitated bureaucratic changes in the government response to the disease. By negotiating these challenges, Dr. Fauci secured his place in the public health system and changed the way AIDS was treated.
Watch the above video to learn how.
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A topic as broad as the AIDS crisis, even narrowed to Dr. Fauci’s involvement, could have an endless reading list, from primary sources like ACT UP’s historical archive or one of Dr. Fauci’s early lectures on AIDS.
However, these books provide particularly useful context on a complex story.
- Against the Odds: The Story of of AIDS Drug Development, Politics, and Profits by Peter Arno and Karyn Feiden
This book provides an exhaustive tour of the AIDS crisis from a drug research perspective, with extensive coverage of the NIH and FDA.
- Big Shot: Passion, Politics, and the Struggle for an AIDS Vaccine by Patricia Thomas
This book extends beyond the 1980s period covered in this video to explore the long search for an AIDS vaccine. It’s highly useful as a history of pharmaceutical and government efforts.
- How to Survive a Plague by David France
This book, and the documentary of the same name, describe the activist history of the crisis with plenty of research into the government response.
- AIDS at 30: A History by Victoria Harden and Anthony A. Fauci
Written by a former NIH history director and Dr. Fauci, this is something like an “official” history of the AIDs crisis, from the beginning to the book’s 2012 publication date.