UNAIDS is deeply saddened by the tragic death of pioneering HIV researcher Mark Wainberg. An internationally renowned scientist, Dr Wainberg was a leading HIV researcher from the start of the AIDS epidemic.

“Mark Wainberg was a giant in HIV science. His work contributed to saving millions of lives,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

Dr Wainberg and colleagues identified one of the main antiretroviral medicines used to treat HIV infection, lamivudine. He contributed to the understanding of HIV drug resistance and more recently was working towards a cure for HIV. Dr Wainberg was the head of AIDS research at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital and Director of the McGill University AIDS Centre, Canada, at the time of his death.

A friend of, and informal adviser to, UNAIDS for many years, he also served as the President of the International AIDS Society from 1998 to 2000. Dr Wainberg was a passionate advocate for ensuring that HIV treatment reached the people most in need and spoke out against AIDS denialism when it threatened the response to HIV.

“UNAIDS and the millions of people living with HIV will mourn Mark Wainberg’s passing and celebrate the huge contribution to the response to HIV he made in his life,” Mr Sidibé added.