Cape Ton – South African Dr. Glenda Gray, who is also a Professor at the University of Witwatersrand, made TIME’s The 100 Most Influential People list for her work on HIV.
The physician and scientist specializes in the care of children and in HIV medicine and was previously awarded South Africa's highest honor, the Order of Mapungubwe.
Siobhan O'Connor, an executive editor at TIME wrote the bio for Gray, recalling how the doctor got into studying about the disease.
“It can be easy to forget that until recently, HIV was a disease you didn't talk about. Ironically, that's what inspired Glenda Gray to study the virus in the first place. As a young medical student who fought to desegregate hospitals in apartheid-era South Africa, she was alarmed when she started seeing babies dying of a virus that her own government claimed wasn't causing AIDS.”
“That's when the pediatrician in training learned firsthand that with HIV, you're fighting a battle on two fronts: you're up against a vicious virus—and the stigma that allowed it to proliferate, unchecked, for so long.
“Gray decided to fight the virus and the silence around it through research. Thanks in part to her work on mother-to-child transmission, the number of babies born with HIV has dropped from 600 000 a year to 150 000. Now, she's set her sights on a way to inoculate infants before they're ever put at risk.
“Her ongoing HIV-vaccine study is the largest of its kind ever conducted in South Africa, and with it, Gray is once again doing her part to make sure that the science of HIV—and the conversation around it - never stops evolving.
According to another report, Professor Gray said that she was really surprised by the announcement.
“At first I thought they had made a mistake. I should not be on the list of the most influential people in the world! It’s quite intimidating.”
Bout after her initial shock, she believed that it is her dedication to her field that played a big role in her making the list.
“I have always said that if we find a solution to HIV we will find it in South Africa. As a county we have come a long way with many breakthroughs over the years.”
“It’s great that people are recognising the work that we do. It’s an honour that we get that recognition. The science is not forgotten.”