Health Science Centre, Beijing University, 13 June 2005, "AIDS has changed the world", Speech by Peter Piot, UNAIDS Executive Director and Under Secretary General of the United Nations
I am particularly happy to be speaking at the Medical Centre because I too was once a medical student. I graduated from medical school in Belgium just over 30 years ago. And thinking about these three decades makes me realize afresh just how profoundly AIDS has affected the world, particularly the worlds of health, medicine and development. Thirty years ago AIDS and HIV were unknown – even these words did not exist! Thirty years ago my professors and fellow students told me that there was no future in specializing in infectious diseases. And yet today, in the space of just these years, AIDS has become the worst epidemic in history and there is serious worldwide concern about the threat posed by infectious diseases.