The International AIDS Society (IAS) announced the passing of its past president, Professor David Cooper. He passed away on March 18th, 2018, surrounded by his family at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, Australia, at the age of 69 after a short illness.
Cooper served as president of the IAS from 1994 until 1998. Cooper had been the inaugral director of the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society since its establishment in 1986. "David played a crucial role in developing the drug trials for many of the HIV medications currently on the market and saving lives today," IAS President Linda-Gail Bekker said in a statement. "He was a brave researcher, an invaluable collaborator, and is an irreplaceable force in the HIV community."
Cooper was internationally recognized as a leading HIV clinician and clinical investigator. He diagnosed what were some of Australia's first cases of HIV in 1983, and dedicated his career to HIV epidemiology, treatment, and prevention. Helping those most vulnerable was at the core of his life's work, leading studies on HIV prevention and therapeutic strategies in low- and middle-income countries.
"Throughout his career, David continued to consult as a physician and was renowned for his compassion with each of his patients," IAS Executive Director Owen Ryan said. "That perfectly encapsulates the genuine heartfelt nature of who David was and how he approached his work. We are forever indebted to him for his vision, tenacity and humanity."
During his tenure as IAS President, he led the International AIDS Conference in Vancouver, Canada in 1996. That conference, which presented the introduction of combination therapy, served as a turning point in the history of AIDS. His leadership helped usher in a new era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).