Mathilde Krim, a pioneer in the field of AIDS research, passed away Monday at the age of 91.
Krim, founding chairman of amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, devoted her life to the fight against HIV/AIDS, in particular raising the public’s awareness of the devastating disease.
Soon after the first cases of what would later be called AIDS were reported in 1981, Krim recognized that this new disease raised grave scientific and medical questions and that it might have important socio-political consequences. She dedicated herself to increasing the public’s awareness of AIDS and to a better understanding of its cause, its modes of transmission, and its epidemiologic pattern. Contributing to the fight against AIDS, she established AIDS Medical Foundation in 1983. Later the Foundation merged with a similar organization and called the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR). With Elizabeth Taylor, she founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research contributing generous amounts of her own funds and lending her considerable skills to raising awareness about AIDS and raising funds for AIDS research. She continued working on behalf of AIDS awareness through AmfAR.
Journalist Andy Humm of Gay USA writes:
All honor to the great Dr. Mathilde Krim, founder of AmFAR (started as the AIDS Medical Foundation in 1983), who died today at 91–a giant in the fight against HIV and AIDS bringing both scientific and fundraising savvy and celebrities to the cause in the worst years of the AIDS pandemic. A tireless brilliant, calm, steady voice for healing, research, compassion and justice. Millions owe her their lives.
Krim was awarded 16 doctorates honoris causa and has received numerous other honors and distinctions. In August 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, in recognition of her “extraordinary compassion and commitment”. In 2003, Krim received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.
Mathilda Krim died peacefully at her home in King’s Point, New York on Monday January 16, 2018