Charles Farthing

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Charles Farthing
Born (1953-04-23)23 April 1953
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died 6 April 2014(2014-04-06) (aged 60)
Hong Kong, China
Occupation Physician
Spouse(s) Dougie Lui

Charles Frank Farthing (22 April 1953 – 6 April 2014) was a New Zealand doctor who specialised in the treatment of AIDS. He was the Medical Director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation from 2001 to 2007.[1] He later worked at Merck Sharp & Dohme as the Director of medical affairs for infectious diseases in the Asia-Pacific.[2]

Early life[edit]

Farthing was born on 22 April 1953 in Christchurch, New Zealand.[2] His father was an accountant and his mother was a music teacher.[3] He was educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, an independent boys school.[1] As a child he had considered entering the priesthood.[4] He went on to study medicine at the University of Otago in Dunedin.[1]

Medical career[edit]

Farthing began his medical career in New Zealand where he practiced as a dermatologist.[4] After five years,[1][2] he moved abroad and worked for a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[3] He then moved to England and joined St Stephen's Hospital in Chelsea, London.[1][2] Between 1985 and 1987, the numbers of AIDS patients treated at St Stephen's rose from a dozen to over 1000.[1] From 1985 to 1988, he was involved in clinical trials for the antiretroviral drugs Thymosin, AZT and foscarnet.[1] In 1987, he helped found the Kobler Center at St Stephen’s Hospital which specialised in the treatment and research of HIV/AIDS.[5] It was one of the first wards in the United Kingdom to specialise in the area.[2] He was Chair of the all-party parliamentary committee on AIDS during the late 1980s,[6] and was instrumental in guiding the governments reaction to the AIDS crisis.[1]

In 1988, he was awarded a Winston Churchill fellowship which allowed him to move to the United States of America where he studied AIDS at the Bellevue Hospital in New York.[6] He later became the Director of the hospital's AIDS treatment program.[2] In 1994, he moved to Los Angeles where he became the principal investigator of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and in 2001, he was promoted to Medical Director.[1] In 2007, he left the United States for Hong Kong where he joined Merck Sharp & Dohme.[5] At the time of his death, he was Director of medical affairs for infectious diseases in the Asia-Pacific.[2]


Farthing died on 6 April 2014 of a heart attack while travelling in a taxi in Hong Kong.[1][2] His funeral was held at Church of St Michael and All Angels, an Anglican church in Christchurch on 22 April 2014. He is buried on Banks Peninsula.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Farthing was gay.[4] At the time of his death he was in a relationship with Dougie Lui, a hotelier.[1][2] He had owned a number of cats but did not have any children.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gazzard, Brian (11 May 2014). "Charles Farthing obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chawkins, Steve (19 April 2014). "Charles F. Farthing, doctor at the cutting edge of HIV/AIDS care, dies at 60". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Charles Farthing". The Times. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Charles F. Farthing, M.D.". Winners. The Body. 2005. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Charles Farthing, MD". Saving Lives. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Charles Farthing". News. British HIV Association. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Death Notice: Dr Charles Frank FARTHING". The New Zealand Heral. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.