Wpg Free Press: Frank talk on the luncheon menu
It was surreal, really. About 30 women gathered for a Thursday luncheon at the Manitoba Club, enjoying a chicken caesar salad while their guest speaker held the floor with a PowerPoint presentation to underscore his main points.
Suddenly, the screen was filled with a photo of male genitals covered in ulcers, or “chancroids,” the more technical term. This was not your usual meal for ladies who lunch and this wasn’t your usual luncheon speaker.
Allan Ronald cheekily smiled at us as he powered through his talk, unfazed by our discomfort. His international career, it would seem, all started because of those “chancroids.” He was there to outline the important work on HIV and AIDS, and he certainly got our attention.
The Order of Canada recipient and inductee into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame got his start internationally as an infectious-disease expert working with the University of Nairobi. He was asked to help out by the head of microbiology, who was dealing with Kenya’s outbreak of chancroids.
What grew to become the University of Manitoba/University of Nairobi clinic for research on sexually transmitted diseases eventually attracted experts from all over the world. In 1984, AIDS would become a focal point and by 1986, they had set up an HIV unit in Nairobi.
Ronald has been recognized internationally for his contributions in the fight against AIDS.
The research from the clinic team has led to groundbreaking findings regarding how AIDS is transmitted.
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