HIV/AIDS Pioneer Dr. Mathilde Krim Dies At 91

Activist Peter Staley writes on Facebook:

My greatest AIDS hero died a few hours ago. Dr. Mathilde Krim, founder of amfAR, warrior against homophobia and AIDS-related stigma, dedicated defender of science and public health, and mother-figure and mentor to countless activists, will leave a deep hole in the continued fight against AIDS — a fight she dedicated her life to. She was 91.

Journalist Andy Humm writes:

All honor to the great Dr. Mathilde Krim, founder of AmFAR (started as the AIDS Medical Foundation in 1983), who died today at 91–a giant in the fight against HIV and AIDS bringing both scientific and fundraising savvy and celebrities to the cause in the worst years of the AIDS pandemic. A tireless brilliant, calm, steady voice for healing, research, compassion and justice. Millions owe her their lives.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson writes:

Today the world lost the one of the most important figures in the history of the fight against HIV/AIDS. Founder of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), Dr. Mathilde Krim devoted her life to ending HIV/AIDS and inspired countless others to do the same. From early days of the AIDS epidemic, when fear, misinformation and discrimination abounded, she raised public awareness about the epidemic and generated funds for medical research that helped lead to life saving treatments.

As an HIV positive man who has been living with the virus for over 13 years, I know that I would not be alive today without the efforts of Dr. Mathilde Krim. I met her during my first trip to New York City, at age 18. Little did I know the important role she would play in my life.  My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Dr. Krim. Her legacy will live on in the countless lives she saved.

(Via Towleroad)

  • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

    A pioneer in humanity. Thank you Dr Krim, for all that you did for us.

    • Zoey

      Interesting irony this following the two religious nutcases. The lowest of humanity vs the highest.

  • Joe in PA


    I was shocked to see that she was 91. It just wasn’t that long ago when we first learned about her (30 years). Ouch.

    RIP Dr Krim, you are an inspiration.

    • Edmund Allin

      Time passes more quickly than we realise. Seize the day.

  • Lumpy Gaga


  • Rebecca Gardner

    R.I.P. Dr. Krim. Thank you for all you did.

    In other news…

    • Joe in PA


  • Oh, Children. You do not know.

    when good writers use the word “Giant” it’s for a reason. that is the name of a very famous gay icon movie. that is the thing your bad parent used to scare you. that is the thing that someday, hopefully you’ll experience in a club situation.

    anyway, this is a person whose name you Must Remember. this is part of our history, a very important part. you’ll cry when Obama dies, right? cry now, this is an even greater person who has passed.

    • Rambie


      RIP Dr Krim

    • Librarykid

      I remember an article that she wrote in the 80s; believe I read it in FirstHand where she exposed the role that the blood industry played in giving so many men AIDS. Men Who Have Sex With Other Men (I forget the exact acronym) would be exposed to Hepatitis. Their doctors would prescribe Gamma Globulin to lessen the illness. The trouble was that the blood products industry was buying blood in Africa. Nobody knew about the virus at the time so the blood was not heat treated to kill pathogens and there was no test for HIV so these very sexually active men were being inoculated with the virus and spreading it. This was also why those who needed the clotting factor were also infected with the virus. Dr. Krim was the only person to make this connection and I never read it anywhere else because it was quickly put under wraps by big pharma.

      What a woman of valor. Her life was a blessing.

      • ChrisMorley

        In Britain, we had to import Factor VIII from the USA to treat people with haemophilia because of a shortage. Very many of those treated here with USA Factor VIII then got HIV and Hepatitis, because many US blood donors were Hepatitis and HIV infected IV drug users who were paid for blood donations and used the $$$ for their next fix.
        It became a national scandal and cost the UK government £Millions in compensation.
        Here blood donation is an unpaid altruistic act that supplies our NHS with blood and blood products. It is all screened for transmissable infections.

        • Librarykid

          That is what the blood products industry wanted you to believe, but it was more than HIV-infected men donating. The root of the problem was the cheap blood the industry bought in Africa and unknowingly used to make the products that gave AIDS to so many. Two friends had surgery at this time and got infected from the transfusions. I have been friends with the widow of one for years.

          The important thing is that this wonderful woman brought so much relief in a time of so much pain. I am sure God was at the gate to personally welcome her into heaven.

  • olandp

    Such a beautiful woman.

    • prixator

      Yes, inside and out!

  • Adam Stevens

    I always wonder why people looked to the heavens for angels, when they are actually down here among us.

    Dr. Krim was one of those angels, and I wish her an eternity of peace.

    • MaryJOGrady

      Angels do walk among us, and heroes. Dr. Krim was both.

    • John

      Beautifully stated!

  • GanymedeRenard

    Rest in peace, Dr. Krim. We live in a better world thanks to your efforts. Eternal gratitude.

  • Lars Littlefield

    Thank you for having existed. RIP

  • Tawreos

    It is always hard to lose a hero, thank you Dr. Krim.

  • TuuxKabin

    Stood up for and against so much to help so many. Thank you Dr. Krim. You lead the way. Forever grateful. R.I.P.

  • shellback

    Is this going to be another really shitty year?

    • Blake Mason

      No… we will not go back to what was the status quo of hatred and discrimination.


    • Edmund Allin

      We may mourn her, and offer her friends and loved ones our condolences, but death of old age is natural, and a long life well lived is something to celebrate.

  • Blake Mason

    It was the late 80s early 90s I was still a kid growing up in a semi-religious home. AIDS was just being addressed by governments. I knew I was gay. This meant in my mind that I was eventually going to get AIDS.

    I can’t remember how the conversation was bought up that day… it was about how AIDS was contracted. My homeroom teacher assured me that you had to have sex or exchange body fluids to contract it… too which neither came into the picture at that time in my life.

    Knowledge is power. Don’t let others feed you lies about who you are or what you are destined to become.

    • i went to an expensive private school in the 80s. they were horrible people on so many levels. but anyway, they were also horrible about AIDS. we were shown, over and over again, the most hysterical bullshit non-factual, unscientific crap during “free period.” our Headmaster would stand there and go on and on, about the risk of any sort of physical contact, and AIDS. like, ridunkulous levels. a mosquito that touched a gay person will give you AIDS, did you know that? etc. it wasn’t a religious school in any way! it was just for rich people. otherwise a very good school. but the admins were Paranoid, bigtime, and conservative, speaking of identity. the Headmistress once told me i had to change my haircolor.

      • Blake Mason

        To all heroes like Dr. Krim… thank you for not letting the bullshit go unchecked… Could you imagine the state we would be in if people like your headmaster controlled that narrative of those times?

      • shout out for anyone who still has a DCDS sweatshirt. i ran with Peggy, and my sister played ball with Shirley! fo shizzle.

  • HZ81

    RIP, good Doctor. And thank you.

  • CanuckDon

    I can’t think of any cliched comment more sincere and appropriate than to not mourn that she died but to be grateful that she lived. She took to the fight in 1981…incredible woman! RIP

  • MaryJOGrady

    We have lost a titan of medicine. May she rest in power.

  • easygoingmister

    Cheers to a long life with positive impact! I hope two things:

    I hope her passing was without pain and peaceful.

    I hope those that knew her personally get some comfort that even though she is gone she made an excellent mark!

  • teeveedub

    I hope the younglings here on JMG understand what a stalwart unflinching hero Dr. Krim was. She provided a glimmer of hope during a very hopeless time, and she inspired countless others to move forward through their fears toward rationality, despite shock, grief, governmental malaise, and religious persecution.

    Rest In Peace. Your work and your life will not be forgotten.

    • gaycuckhubby

      I must admit, as a younger reader I did not recognize her name. But have that up on her in the last hour. The things that I have read and learned in that small amount of time have humbled me. I’m in awe of her and her dedication and her Humanity.

      • John

        Now that you know, tell others who don’t.

        • gaycuckhubby

          Already shared with several friends

    • GanymedeRenard

      I still can only fathom the harrowing agony endured by my elders and betters in times when our kind (especially those who were HIV-positive) was seen as nothing more than a herd of abhorrent pariahs. The cruelty, the stigma, the silence… I feel so fortunate I was born in another time. I sit on the shoulders of true giants, for which I’m enormously thankful.

      • Librarykid

        And as bad as the cruelty, stigma and silence were, with even nurses refusing to touch people who were so sick in hospitals, there was absolutely no hope for anyone once they got sick. We had an administration full of Pences then, too.

        • GanymedeRenard

          What dreadful times, truly. 🙁

          However, it’s immensely comforting to know that all that is (for the most part) over. Never again!

  • caphillprof

    She was a saint.

  • Hue-Man

    And Trump and Republicans want to ban immigrants…
    wiki: “Dr. Mathilde Krim (née Galland) was born in Como, Italy, to a Swiss Protestant father and Italian Catholic mother.”

    • Halou

      Italy is not a black majority shithole country though, so she would be okay regardless.

      • Librarykid

        It was in the 1920s when congress passed legislation limiting immigration from Italy and central and eastern Europe (slavs and Jews) for the same reasons they want to limit immigration from other areas today.

  • Todd20036

    And sometimes, the good die old.

  • Halou
  • Richard

    Rest in Peace Dr. Krim

  • David Walker

    I will admit that I was extremely suspicious of her, of her motives, and of her sincerity at first. It didn’t take me long to come around on my thinking and my appreciation of her. But the first years of that horrible plague, I found it highly suspect that a doctor, that a society woman, would have the slightest interest in dying fags. I did not believe that a straight woman would have any interest in us, let alone compassion. And then she and Liz Taylor teamed up and it finally made sense. I certainly understood why Liz would be concerned, and it stood to reason that other rich straight women could feel for us, too. Despite the horrible treatment by many doctors (and other professionals), it made sense that she would have compassion for us and for anyone with that death sentence disease. It hadn’t taken long for the Falwells and Robertsons to indoctrinate the unintelligent, including people in my blood family, and my suspicions about any straight person were quickly raised and too often confirmed. What was in it for this woman doctor? Love. Compassion. Valor. Yes, but also an unquestioning regard for our equality, our personhood, the value of our lives. My apologies, Dr. Krim. I’m sorry I questioned your sincerity, because after I saw you in action, saw you take action, saw you be action, doubt didn’t cross my mind again.

    Thank you, good Dr. Krim. Thank you for all you did, for the those you mourned, and for those still alive because of you.

    • SFBruce

      The very fact that two rich, white women would champion finding answers to a disease that afflicted only already marginalized groups was in itself enormously powerful. Neither had to do this; both faced enormous risk for doing what they did.

      • David Walker

        And what I admire most is that, no, they didn’t have to do it, as far as the public was concerned, but they knew they had to do it because it was the right thing. I loved Liz for all the gay reasons, but this added a definite feeling of respect.

        • Librarykid

          Both of those women were strong enough to not have to worry about taking any shit from anyone for the wonderful work they were doing.

    • GanymedeRenard

      And let’s not forget that, from what I’ve read and heard, our lesbian sisters were always there for us in full solidarity. Colossal gratitude is due to them as well.

      • David Walker

        Absolutely utterly totally. And thank you for bringing that up. In status reports, lesbians as a class reported the fewest cases of AIDS. I loved it when they’d bring that up to the religious monsters…if AIDS is god’s punishment for gays, then god must really love his lesbians.

        Seriously, though, I’m certain we’d never had made the progress we did had lesbians not stepped up. The one bright spot in all of that horror was that gays and lesbians got to know each other. We were foreigners to each other until then. It did not take long for them to get involved and help us unflinchingly. I most certainly do honor our lesbian sisters.

        • Librarykid

          A year ago, my institution had a 30th anniversary display of the panel we created for some of the employees we lost to AIDS. A woman was there handing out pamphlets and we got to talking. It turns out that she was a nurse and had administered one of the Whitman Walker homes for people with AIDS. I had helped a friend install window air conditioners that he donated in the place. It was so wonderful to connect with another survivor of that terrible time, another case of a Lesbian sister helping us.

          • David Walker

            There are so many untold stories from that time about quiet heroism and compassion. Dr. Krim was able to be an international voice for us and others who were infected. But there was so much done at the local level, too. Food delivery and preparation. Help with cleaning. Visiting for no purpose other than to provide human interaction that didn’t have a medical degree. Installing window air conditioners at one of the few places that cared for us and about us. Looking back on it, I feel somehow privileged to have been there as the walls between gays and lesbians came down.

      • John

        Yes, yes, yes. Remember, too, that the guys were not always friendly and accepting of Lesbians. Yet when the time came, they were able to put all of that aside and help their dying Gay friends. I will always be grateful to the Lesbian community for what they did.

  • Ninja0980

    Nice to see the good don’t always die young.
    RIP Dr. Krim and thank you for all that you did.

  • SFBruce

    What an enormous contribution she made; what an example she set. The world is a poorer place without her, but I have no doubt her life will serve as inspiration for others to be heroes like her. RIP.

  • JWC

    One of the cornerstones, a pillar, if you will, of the AIDS dilemma At a time of little
    knowledge and many fears and panic a calm committed voice We stand in silent tribute to a real champion, a real hero

  • alc2018

    yes her life would make one of the greatest movies and stories told of this disease and people therein. Her story and complete bio tells the tale of a true and honest warrior. Don’t ever be fooled new blue pill all-is-well today members she paved and made a way out of no way and faced a billion enemies daily. Remember her and the fight she chose to fight and win. Thank you, Dr. Krim.

  • witch

    Thank you for making the World a better place…. welcome to the Summerland

  • CB

    There are many people living in hope and still here because of the work Dr. Krim did. I was here in NYC as AIDS was discovered and all through the dark years of losing many friends I cared for. She was brilliant, caring and tireless…

    And she did it with SCIENCE.

  • CityWOOF

    I remember her, on the Donahue show, on the nightly news. I remember being drawn to her and comforted by her. After reading How To Survive a Plague, I found out even more about Dr. Mathilde Krim and I’m very sad to hear of her death. What a wonderful human.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    She spoke when others refused to. She advocated while others demurred. She demanded that the government and society of the day pay attention and was unwavering in her commitment. She was, nay, IS a hero to our people.

  • ChrisMorley

    Here’s her Obituary from amFAR

  • TheSeer

    RIP dr. Mathilde. Thank you for everything.

  • JCF

    Memory eternal. Rest in peace, rise in glory!