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Washington College Magazine

Fighting For A Cure

April 16, 2013
Kate Krauss ’85 studied English and poetry at Washington College, but when she moved to San Francisco, where she came face to face every day with HIV/AIDS, she found another calling.

imageKate Krauss ’85 studied English and poetry at Washington College, but when she moved to San Francisco, where she came face to face every day with HIV/AIDS, she found another calling. “I realized that all around me were sick and dying people,” she says. “I felt very sad about it. I wanted to do something about it. I’m a horrible nurse, so I thought, I will write stuff for an AIDS organization. So I started out writing press releases.”

From those seeds of compassion and action grew the AIDS Policy Project, which Krauss founded and now bases, as executive director, in Philadelphia. Her organization works to remove regulatory, cultural and funding roadblocks to finding a cure. For so long, she says, scientists, policy makers, advocates, and drug companies have worked successfully on developing treatments for HIV/AIDS; all the while, cure research took a back seat. But millions have HIV/AIDS worldwide, and many can’t afford treatment. “It’s not sustainable to try and treat 34 million people forever,” Krauss says. “We need to fund treatment, but let’s also invest in a cure.” 

In 2007, the so-called Berlin patient became the only person in the world cured of HIV.  Krauss was certain it would spur immediate further research. But what she found was that the research community didn’t have the funding to take advantage of “this fantastic new situation.” Since then, Krauss’s organization has worked to publicize the new reality, as well as to ensure that enough money, tools, and people are in place to make the most of it. “The science to support a cure is going incredibly well, but we need to make sure we have everything we need to push it over the goalposts and then scale it up for millions of people,” she says. “We need to remove the obstacles.”

In honor of her work, POZ Magazine has selected Krauss for its annual “POZ 100,” people who are making a difference in the war against HIV/AIDS. Next to notables like Elton John, Greg Louganis, and U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Krauss was lauded for ensuring “that the organization advocates for HIV eradication research, secures funding for treatment and demands leadership on AIDS in Congress.”


Last modified on Apr. 22nd, 2013 at 1:10pm by CRM Lindsay Bergman.