The Alan Pifer Award was granted to them for excellence in research, treatment, training and prevention of HIV–related diseases and infections in Southern Africa. Their journey has taken them from the dark days of AIDS denial to an important moment in the history of the epidemic.
“What got me into this work,” says Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, “is a combination of curiosity and passion. The curiosity kicks up the questions that inform the research. The passion is never driven by pity – I am constantly overawed by the resilience of this community.” This combination has also led not only to cutting-edge research, but to some extraordinary stories from the community in which the Centre operates.
“The remarkable work of Linda-Gail Bekker and Robin Wood to fight the HIV epidemic has shown visionary and responsive leadership,” says vice-chancellor Dr Max Price. “Their work in the communities of Cape Town has made a difference in the lives of countless South Africans and their commitment to social justice and responsive research is commendable.”