CDC scientist to speak about early AIDS investigations

The University of Georgia's Voices from the Vanguard series starts a new season Jan. 13 with an highly personal look at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic from Harold Jaffe, associate director of science at the Centers for Disease Control.

The presentation, “CDC, Hollywood and the early days of AIDS in the U.S.,” takes place at 5:30 p.m. in the University of Georgia Chapel.

Jaffe will present his perspective as a CDC scientist investigating the early days of the AIDS epidemic and will compare what he saw with what Hollywood captured in the HBO film, “And the Band Played On.” He was a young doctor training to be a disease detective when the first cases of the mysterious new disease showed up in the United States.

“Harold Jaffe was on the front lines in the early 1980s, when alert doctors and epidemiologists recognized very odd patterns of disease among young gay men in urban areas,” said UGA Knight Chair Patricia Thomas. “He has great stories to tell. And we can learn how it felt to see himself on screen when Randy Shilts' historic book, “And the Band Played On,” was turned into a movie.”

Jaffe served as Epidemic Intelligence Officer at the CDC and led the first national case-control study to determine risk factors for the disease and the first natural history study of HIV. He served in leadership positions in the CDC's expanding HIV/AIDS programs and in 2001 became Director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention.

Jaffe is a member of the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. He was named a Fellow of the United Kingdom Faculty of Public Health following his establishment of a new master's degree program in Global Health Science at the University of Oxford.

He earned his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and trained in internal medicine at the UCLA Medical Center and in infectious diseases at the University of Chicago hospitals.

This marks the tenth year for the global disease lecture series sponsored by the Grady College Health and Medical Journalism program and UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. Dan Colley, director of the CTEGD and Patricia Thomas, Knight Chair of Health and Medical Journalism at Grady College, direct the series. This lecture is the first of four and all are included in UGA's Freshman Odyssey Seminar calendar. The next speakers are:

February 17: Glen Nowak, Ph.D., Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, UGA
March 17: Sarah Schlesinger, M.D., The Rockefeller University
April 7: Maryn McKenna, M.A., author of Superbug: The fatal menace of MRSA

The events are free and open to the public. A complimentary reception follows each talk at Demosthenian Hall.

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Date: January 5, 2015
Author:  Katelyn Lewis,
Contact:  Patricia Thomas, 706-542-1210,