Boston Globe Profiles HIV-Positive PEPFAR Interagency Coordinator in Kenya
The Boston Globe on Tuesday profiled Warren Buckingham, the Kenya interagency coordinator for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Buckingham is the only one of 250 U.S. government health specialists working on HIV/AIDS in Africa who is known to be HIV-positive and is currently speaking about his status. Buckingham was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1988 and believes he has been living with the virus for 27 years. He worked to fight the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic for 15 years at a Dallas-based clinic and for the Clinton and current Bush administrations. About four years ago he began working in Africa, where he talks to HIV-positive people about his status and the benefits of antiretroviral therapy. "I can talk to people who are on antiretroviral medicines for three months, who have made it through the first side effects, and I'm able to say to them, 'Look at me, I've been here all these years. So instead of leaving your children as orphans, you are able to dance at their wedding,'" Buckingham said. Elsa Ouko, head of the Kenyan Network for HIV-Positive Teachers, said, "When I first met [Buckingham], I had to open my eyes wide to see the HIV in him -- he was the first white man I had met to tell me he was HIV-positive," adding, "And when he said how many years he has stayed with the virus, it made me accept my status more than I had before" (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.