amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Remembering Dr. Arthur Ammann, Former President of amfAR

Dr. Arthur Ammann, a scientist, physician, author and leading advocate in the fight against HIV/AIDS died on August 15 in San Rafael, California. His expertise in pediatric immunology led him to join researchers racing to identify the cause of AIDS, at the time wrongly believed to only affect adults.

Dr. Ammann served with distinction as a member of amfAR’s Board of Trustees and chairman of its Scientific Advisory Committee from 1988 to 1994. He was appointed president and principal spokesperson on research and public policy issues in February 1997. Prior to his passing, he was trustee emeritus.

In addition, Dr. Ammann served on the advisory board of the Pediatric AIDS Foundation (later, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation). Describing his role at the Foundation, his mentor Dr. Richard Stiehm wrote that Dr. Ammann was “crucial in bringing pediatric AIDS to the attention of the nation and the world.”

Dr. Ammann with Dr. Mathilde KrimDr. Ammann, pictured with amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim and longtime supporter Natasha Richardson, was honored on World AIDS Day 1995 with amfAR's Outstanding Research in Pediatric AIDS Award.

As novel treatments turned a fatal disease into a manageable one, Dr. Ammann became increasingly concerned that these treatments were failing to reach the poorest communities. In 1999, he founded the nonprofit organization Global Strategies for HIV Prevention (today, Global Strategies) to improve access to HIV treatment and prevention programs in conflict and post-conflict settings in Africa. Together with his wife Marilyn, he organized training programs to teach doctors and nurses how to treat pregnant women living with HIV and reduce the risk of transmission to their newborns. He helped start the first Children’s AIDS Program in the eastern Congo at HEAL Africa Hospital with Dr. Jo and Lyn Lusi. Today the clinic provides lifesaving treatment to more than 700 children born with HIV.

“Dr. Ammann made immense contributions to the fight against AIDS, especially in the area of pediatrics,” said Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR chief executive officer. “We will be forever grateful for his leadership and his commitment to amfAR early on in the epidemic and will remember him as a close friend and colleague and a humanitarian who made a colossal difference in the lives and wellbeing of children around the world.”

The board of Trustees and staff of amfAR extend their deepest sympathy to Dr. Ammann’s family.