Dr. David Cooper: A Remembrance

Another sad loss for the HIV community. Australian researcher, Dr. David Cooper, age 69, died suddenly on March 18 in Sydney, Australia.

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the earliest days of AIDS when he was working in Boston and testing blood samples from NYC patients with AIDS. He came to a NYS Health Department meeting and said, “This is a virus. I don’t know which one, but all signs point to a viral infection.” This was when AIDS didn’t have a name. Some called it GRID, gay-related immune deficiency. We were in the dark and here was this Australian doctor opening our eyes to what would become a global pandemic.

In 1985, he reported the first case of HIV “acute infection.” Acute HIV (“seroconversion illness”) is the illness that some people experience as they are becoming HIV-positive. These report of patients with a mononucleosis like illness were published in the journal, The Lancet, and were ground breaking. 

He was a huge believer in early HIV treatment. At the International AIDS Conference in Paris in 1986, he said, that the acute illness was the time to treat HIV to get the best results for the patient. This was BEFORE AZT was introduced in 1987. He was right. Today’s Rapid Start Treatment is the result of this early work.

He continued his crusade against HIV from Australia, but his contributions were felt globally. At the time of his death, he had published more than 800 scientific papers on the various aspects of HIV infection.

A true giant in the fight against HIV. Rest well, my colleague.