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Personal Story

In Memory of a Quiet Hero in the Response to HIV

April 18, 2017

Alan Silverman and Eric Sawyer

Alan Silverman (L) and Eric Sawyer (Courtesy of UNAIDS)

I am writing this in memory of my colleague and dear friend Alan Silverman, a retired UNAIDS staff member and leader in the AIDS response.

Alan was one of the driving forces who created UNCARES, a groundbreaking program to inform United Nations (UN) staff about HIV and to provide education and prevention services. UNCARES also links staff to HIV testing and to treatment if they were living with HIV.

One the goals of the program is to ensure that staff have a better understanding of HIV and the stigma and discrimination that exists. It also teaches people how to be part of the solutions to ensure all people living with and affected by HIV can live with dignity.

The UN Secretary-General made the UNCARES training, that Alan helped to develop, a mandatory requirement for the entire UN system everywhere in the world.

Before Alan retired, he was part of a taskforce that created materials to train UN staff about issues facing key populations including men who have sex with men, LGBTI, sex workers and people who use drugs.

Alan was always trying to make the world a better place. I will miss him. He was such an incredible friend. Words can't describe the huge amount of good he did in the world, for so many of us. 

Alan was one of those unique individuals who ensured that the voice of the voiceless was heard, and we and our work are the better for it.

-- Michel Sidibé UNAIDS executive director

Eric Sawyer is retired UNAIDS staff member and pioneering AIDS activist.

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This article was provided by UNAIDS. Visit UNAIDS' website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.

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