Bob Munk was the founder of AIDS InfoNet, which he started in 1997, with the simple mission of providing information on HIV/AIDS basics and treatments to those living with HIV -- in easy-to-understand, non-technical terms in English, Spanish and several other languages.
He provided fact sheets to us for free, and encouraged us to post and share them on TheBody.com. He wanted to make sure people like him, people living with HIV (some of whom might be scared and feeling alone), received the information they needed.
After a couple of years of emails only, I finally met Bob at the AIDS Vaccine Conference in 2012. Like me, he was there as a journalist fellow, attending the workshops and looking to learn more about vaccine science. I had just recently started covering research, so I picked his brain a little about how he was able to break down some of the complicated science. I had to laugh when he told me that he didn't understand half of what we just learned. Then he pondered his retirement.
In due course, Bob did pass the torch of maintaining AIDS InfoNet to someone else (eventually it was passed to the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care [IAPAC]).
I would continue to see Bob every now and then at other HIV research conferences. Even when he was on crutches, he would still truck on, following the science -- an absolute inspiration.
I owe part of how I approach science writing to Bob and his diligent work at AIDS InfoNet. Not only did he provide accessible information on many different HIV topics, he made sure that the information was correct and updated regularly. Did I mention -- mostly by himself! He was like a one-man HIV Wikipedia. And he did it all for over a decade before he finally retired. Just tremendous work for the cause.
I'll remember you, Bob. Thank you for everything.
See the index of AIDS InfoNet fact sheets.