Robin A. Weiss is Professor of Viral Oncology at University College London. Previously he was Director of the Institute of Cancer Research, London. Trained in biology, he has investigated retroviruses for most of his career. He discovered endogenous retroviral genomes that are transmitted as mendelian traits in the DNA of their hosts. He elucidated that CD4 is the binding receptor for HIV, and that "Slim" disease emerging in Africa in the early 1980s was in fact AIDS. His current interests are in blood groups in relation to HIV infection, in the threat of endogenous retroviruses for xenotransplantation, and in AIDS-associated maligancies.
HIV and AIDS
AIDS was first recognized 21 years ago as a curiosity in a handful of gay men in USA. Since then it has burgeoned to become a worldwide pandemic of over 40 million currently living with HIV, not counting 25 million who already died as a consequence of infection. The following questions will be addressed. Is the impact of AIDS unique? Why is HIV so virulent? Is AIDS a "disease of poverty"? What are the medical and social consequences of AIDS? How can we control or prevent infection?