Diane Havlir

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Diane Havlir
Diane Havlir giving 2019 James C. Hill Memorial Lecture.jpg
Havlir giving the 2019 James C. Hill Memorial Lecture, "Ending AIDS: The Wild West"
Alma materDuke University School of Medicine (MD)
University of California, San Francisco
St. Olaf College (BSc)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of California, San Francisco
San Francisco General Hospital

Diane Havlir is a Professor of Medicine and Chief of the HIV/AIDS Division at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research considers novel therapeutic strategies to improve the lives of people with HIV and to support public health initiatives in East Africa. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019.

Early life and education[edit]

Havlir was born in Illinois.[1] As a teenager Havlir was a committed speed skater, and by 1974 was the United States National Short Track champion.[1] Havlir eventually studied biology and chemistry at St. Olaf College and graduated in 1980.[2] Here, instead of speed skating, she took part in cross-country running.[1] She briefly considered becoming an environmental lawyer before taking part in an interim course in medicine.[1] During her undergraduate degree Havlir took part in a study abroad course in Costa Rica on the nutrition habits of the elderly.[1] She moved to the Duke University School of Medicine for her Doctorate of Medicine, which she completed in 1984.[3] At Duke Havlir became interested in infectious diseases.[1] Havlir served as an internal medicine resident at the UCSF Medical Center when AIDS emerged in the 1980s.[3][4] She worked in the first San Francisco AIDS ward at San Francisco General Hospital.[5][1] She completed a fellowship in infection diseases at Case Western Reserve University.[1] At the time, people didn't know the causes of AIDS, or how to treat it.[4] She demonstrated that the antibiotic azithromycin was an effective way to prevent mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infections.[1] She went on to show that a cocktail of drugs was the most effective way to suppress the virus.[1] Whilst the HIV cocktail was effective, it was complicated and expensive – requiring patients to take nine drugs a day at a cost of $30,000 a year.[1] In the early 1990s Havlir spearheaded early studies using antiretroviral therapy, which led to its widespread usage.[4] To try and simplify the treatment, Havlir unsuccessfully tried to reduce the number of drugs used in the cocktail after the virus started to decrease.[1]

Research and career[edit]

Havlir at the 19th International AIDS Conference in 2012

Havlir has studied new treatments for HIV/AIDS, including Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) which can overcome the ability of HIV to mutate and become resistant.[3] Her research has contributed to turning HIV from a fatal disease to a manageable chronic illness.[1][6] Working with the World Health Organization, Havlir committed to treating three million HIV/AIDS sufferers by 2005.[1] In 2006 Havlir was appointed Chair of the World Health Organization TB/HIV Working Group, and by 2007 she had achieved the goal of treating three million people.[1][7]

In 2012 Havlir wrote a nine-point plan, the D.C. Declaration, which outlined what was needed to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.[8][9] She acted as co-chair of the 2012 International AIDS Conference.[8] She co-founded the San Francisco Getting to Zero coalition, which looks to reduce the number of HIV infections and deaths in San Francisco by 90% by 2020.[10][11][12] The coalition formed after a patient enquired as to whether various groups (policy makers, providers and people who suffered from HIV/AIDS).[4] The coalition has established testing sites all over the city, expanded access to Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), initiated treatment as soon as a diagnosis is made and ensured continued care.[4] Timely treatment can stop the HIV virus progressing into AIDS, and stop it from damaging other organs. It can also help to reduce HIV transmission.[6]

Havlir has exported the successes of the San Francisco AIDS treatment programs to Sub-Saharan Africa.[4] In this capacity she established the UCSF Medical Center Sustainable East Africa Research in Community Health (SEARCH) project in 2014, which by 2016 had identified and treated 90 % of HIV infections.[4][13] Havlir has led collaborations between the Makerere University and the AIDS Clinical Trials Group.[3] She is leading a National Institutes of Health study involving 320,000 people in Uganda and Kenya that plans to eliminate HIV through community health based approaches.[14] The program was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the World Bank.[5] The collaboration has negotiated with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of treatment for patients.[1] She has found that it is beneficial to test for multiple diseases in African clinics, as it reduces stigma and shares the costs.[15]

Havlir is the Chief of the HIV/AIDS Division at UCSF School of Medicine.[1]

Awards and honours[edit]

Her awards and honours include;

Further reading[edit]

Havlir's publications include;

  • "Prevention of HIV-1 infection with early antiretroviral therapy". The New England Journal of Medicine. doi:10.1056/Nejmoa1105243.
  • "Recovery of Replication-Competent HIV Despite Prolonged Suppression of Plasma Viremia". Science. 278: 1291–1295. doi:10.1126/science.278.5341.1291.
  • "Treatment with Indinavir, Zidovudine, and Lamivudine in Adults with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Prior Antiretroviral Therapy". The New England Journal of Medicine. 1997-09-11. doi:10.1056/NEJM199709113371102.

Personal life[edit]

Havlir is married to the physician Arturo Martinez, and they have four children.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "The Pioneer" (PDF). St Olaf Magazine Winter 2014. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  2. ^ "Diane Havlir, MD | UCSF Infectious Diseases". infectiousdiseases.ucsf.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  3. ^ a b c d "Diane Havlir, MD'84 | Duke School of Medicine". medschool.duke.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kavanagh, Niall. "Diane Havlir on Nearing the End of HIV/AIDS". Diane Havlir on Nearing the End of HIV/AIDS | UC San Francisco. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  5. ^ a b c Nast, Condé. "The Vanity Fair Hall of Fame: AIDS Pioneer Dr. Diane Havlir". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  6. ^ a b Fost, Dan. "Treatment is Key to Prevention of HIV/AIDS, Doctors Say". Treatment is Key to Prevention of HIV/AIDS, Doctors Say | UC San Francisco. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  7. ^ a b "WHO | Dr Diane Havlir". WHO. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  8. ^ a b AIDS 2012 (2012-07-10). "Washington, D.C. Declaration Calls for Renewed Global Urgency to Turn the Tide on HIV and End the AIDS Epidemic". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  9. ^ Diane Havlir Discusses the D.C. Declaration—Part I: Why Now?, retrieved 2019-11-06
  10. ^ "GETTING TO ZERO | Fast-Track Cities". www.fast-trackcities.org. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  11. ^ Baig, Mehroz; Specialist, ContributorCommunications (2014-12-10). "How San Francisco Is Getting to Zero On HIV". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  12. ^ "Trump pledged to end the HIV epidemic. San Francisco could get there first". Los Angeles Times. 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  13. ^ CohenMar. 11, Jon; 2019; Pm, 3:55 (2019-03-11). "Largest ever HIV prevention study delivers sobering message". Science | AAAS. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  14. ^ Kavanagh, Niall. "New Community-Based Approach to Testing and Treating HIV Improves Health in East Africa". New Community-Based Approach to Testing and Treating HIV Improves Health in East Africa | UC San Francisco. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  15. ^ Mandavilli, Apoorva (2019-07-17). "Intensive Anti-H.I.V. Efforts Meet With Mixed Success in Africa". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  16. ^ "Joseph E. Smadel". www.idsociety.org. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  17. ^ "Alumni Awards | Duke School of Medicine". medschool.duke.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  18. ^ "National Academy of Medicine Elects 100 New Members". NAM. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  19. ^ "4 UCSF Faculty Elected to the National Academy of Medicine for 2019". 4 UCSF Faculty Elected to the National Academy of Medicine for 2019 | UC San Francisco. Retrieved 2019-11-06.