As the families, friends, and colleagues of Jonathan Mann and Mary Lou Clements-Mann mourn their personal loss, they must also mourn the loss to the millions who did not have the privilege of loving them. September 2, 1998, marked the end of an era, an era graced by a man and a woman who defined themselves by their passion for social justice. An era in which integrity was the measure of human conduct, and respect for the dignity of each human being was the anima -- the life force.
When we learned of Jonathan's and Mary Lou's deaths, we knew instantly that the world had changed. We were all irrevocably diminished, some by the loss of a parent, a friend, a teacher, a mentor, others by a vague and uneasy sense of undefined loss, an irrevocable loss of something that is the very essence of our humanity.
Without them, the necessity to address healthcare as a human rights issue is diminished. Without them, the moral urgency is attenuated for the swift development of and access to vaccines against diseases defined more by the poverty of body and spirit than by their often elusive etiologic organisms. Without them, we wonder who will demand accountability for the millions of children, women, and men held hostage by a lack of respect for the dignity and value of human life. Without them, we find ourselves in a world unchallenged by a vision that the denial of healthcare is the denial of freedom.
This issue of the Journal is our association's tribute to Jonathan Mann and Mary Lou Clements-Mann. Some of the words are from those who loved and respected them. Some of the words are Jonathan's. Our words are simply ink on paper that are symbols for our thoughts and feelings. But Jonathan's words are always vocable -- they demand to be spoken, they demand to be heard. Jonathan's words are his anima. Jonathan's words are the truth. And only in our complete commitment to this truth will we ever understand the essence of freedom. We have opened our tribute with Jonathan Mann's presentation at IAPAC's First International Conference on Healthcare Resource Allocation for HIV/AIDS and Other Life-Threatening Illnesses. We have closed the tribute with passages from his article, "Paralysis in AIDS Vaccine Development Violates Ethical Principles and Human Rights," from the May 1998 issue of the Journal. Dr. Mann's position statement on the ethical obligation to proceed with field trials of promising vaccine candidates without the need of consensus from the scientific community drew more criticism from government, academia, and the AIDS community than any other position that he advanced. Such criticism serves to remind us that solutions to the diverse and often competing global health challenges require a rare clarity of vision based on the dignity and value of human life. These challenges will be increasingly difficult to address without Jonathan's vision and without his words which brought such clarity to that vision.
To help keep Jonathan's vision and words paramount in a world so diminished without him, our association has also dedicated the new human rights section of the IAPAC Web site to his vision of a world in which healthcare is inextricably linked to human rights, and in which all human rights are respected and enforced.
This article was provided by International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care. It is a part of the publication Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care.