It is with a truly heavy heart that we report the death of one of our founding patrons, Dr Charles Farthing. We only recently saw Charles at CROI in Boston, and the extremely sad news of his passing has come as a shock to all who knew him.
In an email sharing the news, Merck’s GMSO ID Lead Fabrizio Tondolo said: “Charles possessed a brilliant mind and rare human kindness. He was one of the first doctors to care for AIDS patients in the United Kingdom in the early 1980′s. He was involved in AIDS research and helped set up the Kobler Center at St Stephen’s Hospital (subsequently the Royal Chelsea Westminster) in 1987/88. Charles worked closely at that time with the Terence Higgins Trust and a number of politicians to help with the initial response to the AIDS epidemic in the UK.”
Charles’s long career in HIV medicine spanned several continents: born in New Zealand before moving to practice in the UK, he also became part of the faculty of New York University and the US AIDS Clinical Trials Group, and served from 2009 until his death as Merck’s HIV/ABAF Regional Director Medical Affairs Asia/Pacific. Other posts he held throughout his life included time as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Chief of Medicine, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA, and the editor in chief of the American Academy of HIV Medicine Study Guide. His scientific and clinical work has been invaluable to the community of which he was such an active, respected and admired part.
The President of the AHF, Michael Weinstein, has written: “Charles presided over the introduction at AHF of the ‘cocktail’ that turned AIDS into a manageable disease. It is difficult to express the shock that is felt across AHF at his untimely death.
“Our heartfelt sympathies to Doug Louie his spouse, as well as his family. We will never forget the invaluable contribution Charles made to the organization that AHF is today. However, we will most of all remember a man with boundless compassion for his patients and an intense interest in advancing HIV medicine.”
We were hugely honoured when Charles agreed to be a founding patron of Saving Lives, particularly since he has always been so vocal an advocate for people living with HIV, unafraid to offer criticism when responses to HIV were inadequate or under-powered. His support for and contribution to our charity will always be remembered at Saving Lives – but there can be few within the HIV community who will not also have fond memories of a good-hearted, dedicated and humane doctor and man.