November 5, 2023
Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Gottlieb’s contributions to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic go back to the very beginning— in June of 1981, Michael Gottlieb, MD, was an assistant professor at the UCLA School of Medicine when he became the first person to identify the disease now known as HIV/AIDS. As lead author of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Gottlieb identified the first five cases of the new disease that would become a global health focus for the next half-century.
Gottlieb’s work in this field didn’t end with that memo to the CDC. He became the legendary actor Rock Hudson's doctor following the film star's AIDS diagnosis until his death in 1985. Gottlieb and Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor partnered with Mathilde Krim to establish the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), using $250,000 from Hudson.
He was also physician to the late Elizabeth Glaser, co-founder of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). In 1987, he resigned from the full-time UCLA faculty, and established a private practice of internal medicine and clinical immunology. Dr. Gottlieb has published over 60 papers on various aspects of HIV infection and treatment in medical journals. He was an investigator on the early clinical trials of AZT, the first drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat HIV/AIDS in 1987. He subsequently conducted numerous trials of antiretroviral medicines, contributing to the current improved prognosis for people living with HIV. His work in the early years of the epidemic is chronicled in Randy Shilts' book And the Band Played On. Today, he continues to support HIV/AIDS treatment and care as a staff physician for AIDS Project Los Angeles Health (APLA), a federally qualified health center that specializes in HIV and LGBTQ+ healthcare, as well as by serving on various Boards including The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.