The face of the raising awareness of HIV response in India, Dr Suniti Solomon passed away peacefully in Chennai yesterday. She is also the founding director member of YRG CARE, and a board member of the HIV/AIDS India alliance.
Dr Suniti Solomon was instrumental in driving a nation-wide discussion on the subject, through her experience from biomedical to the socio economic range on HIV/AIDS. Her foremost initiative was the document on the first evidence of HIV infection in India in 1986 which brought the required attention to the then emerging epidemic.
The first voluntary testing and counselling centre was set up under her supervision, when AIDS was just beginning to emerge as an epidemic health scenario in India. Dr Solomon was then a Professor of Microbiology at the Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital.
A member of the National Technical Team on Women and AIDS, she served on numerous national and international committees on AIDS and was the Principal Investigator of several pioneering HIV research studies. Dr Solomon served as the president of the AIDS Society of India and published extensively on HIV epidemiology, prevention, care and support, biomedical research, research ethics and gender issues.
James Robertson, Executive Director of Alliance India, reflected on her passing, “Dr Suniti Solomon stepped up to the challenge of HIV/AIDS long before it was fashionable. Her leadership had a transformative effect on the response to the epidemic in India and around the world. The impact of her work was profound, and her voiced will be sorely missed at a time when India’s HIV response needs her wisdom and guidance.”
The Alliance India family mourns the loss of an extraordinary woman and celebrates her remarkable life as an example to us all to work selflessly towards ending the epidemic.