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Dr. Anthony Fauci fights to eradicate AIDS

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(CNN) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci got goose bumps when he began connecting the dots in the early 1980s of gay men suffering from an unknown disorder in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, and New York.

"I said to myself, here I am an infectious disease person, who studies the human immune system, being confronted with a disease that destroys the body's immune system," he told CNN in 2001.

Fauci, who was then one of the few researchers in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who focused solely on human immunobiology, transformed his lab into a research center on what would become known as HIV/AIDS.

He and his colleagues were among the first to realize that the body's activated immune system drives HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. They also reported in the medical journal Nature in July 1993 that HIV is never latent in the body, but rather remains in the lymph nodes, the glands that play an important role in the body's defense system.

When he became director of the institute in 1984, Fauci added the role of lobbyist and administrator to his duties as a lead researcher. He regularly testifies before Congress to seek funding and to help educate lawmakers on developments in HIV/AIDS. He manages the billion-dollar budget for the institute, and serves as a key adviser to President Bush in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS. In 2002, Bush sent him to Africa and the Caribbean to map out a plan for a $15 billion program to get the disease under control.

Fauci, 66, is a tireless worker who labors regularly for 12 to 14 hours a day. He has received several awards for his work, including 31 honorary doctorate degrees from universities in the United States and abroad. He is a graduate of Holy Cross University and Cornell University Medical College. He lives with his wife, Christine, and their three daughters.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.



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