Peter Piot: Mentor for global healthBMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2187 (Published 20 April 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2187
Peter Piot has been at the heart of two epidemics: HIV/AIDS and Ebola. In 1976, as a young Belgian researcher, he co-discovered the Ebola virus; then, in the ’80s, he was instrumental in establishing scientific understanding of the spread of HIV in Africa. He was executive director of UNAIDS from 1995 to 2008, raising the profile of the infection, making antiretroviral therapy accessible, and fearlessly facing down political opposition in many countries—actions that saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Piot is now director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and his many awards include a Belgian barony, conferred on him in 1995, and the 2015 Gairdner Global Health Award. In 2014 he was a Time person of the year.
What was your earliest ambition?
When I was 10, it was to get out of my village in Flanders and see the world. I started by working …