I qualified from the Middlesex Hospital London University in 1977 and on completion of general medical training worked in Africa for several years before returning and subsequently specialising in Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine. During this time I transferred to the Public Health Laboratory Service (now incorporated into the HPA) and trained as a Medical Microbiologist before returning to Infectious Diseases and subsequently taking up my current position in Manchester over 20 years ago.
Early days were enthusiastically spent researching and developing diagnostic methods for TB. However, with HIV came a change in personal direction and over the last two and a half decades since seeing my first patient with HIV, I have had a broad research portfolio with interests in antiretroviral toxicity, hepatitis co-infection, and the investigation of treatment strategies. Inevitably with getting older come committees and over the last ten years I’ve worked closely and proudly with the British HIV Association in a variety of roles. I’ve also spent seven precious years of my time in management taking on roles as clinical director and clinical area specialist team lead, and also kept myself busy at various times being assistant editor of a journal, heading up a Research Unit, being a specialist adviser for several august bodies, as well as being deeply involved in local and national audit, and much more besides. However, I feel my greatest achievement is getting Manchester on the map as an HIV centre and never straying from what I set out to be, namely a hands-on clinical doctor.
Having too many times witnessed the emotional and physical pain that comes with later stage HIV and seen the epidemic move inexorably forward, it is imperative that creative campaigns that can get to the heart and minds of those it needs to using today’s communication and media networks are developed and supported. The Saving Lives initiative promises to successfully do this through harnessing a diverse range of individuals with a common interest of identifying undiagnosed HIV and reducing transmission.