In Memory: Paul Blanchard
Co-founder of HIV i-Base, Editor of DrFax and HIV Treatment Bulletin.
Simon Collins, HIV i-Base
It is with immense sadness that we report the death of Paul Blanchard, an inspirational activist, a founder of i-Base, the first editor of HTB, and a long serving member of the HTB editorial board.
Paul played a unique role in establishing treatment activism in the UK, challenging doctors to continually update their views and practice with evidence from rapidly evolving research.
Before helping to found HIV i-Base, Paul was a leading member of the AIDS Treatment Project (ATP) which was founded in London in 1996, where he edited DrFax, the forerunner to HTB, from 1996 to 2000.
Like many members of ATP, Paul experienced first hand the dramatic benefits of new combination therapy. He was one of the leading activists to recognise the need for using triple combinations to achieve optimal and sustained viral suppression and to avoid drug resistance when UK guidelines – and many other HIV organisations – suggested fewer drugs might be sufficient.
Despite being a generally reserved person, Paul took to the microphone at an early BHIVA conference in 1996, to protest at this apathy among many UK doctors to recognise the need to understand the implications of new treatment.
For most of the last ten years, although Paul continued to be a member of the HTB editorial board after he stepped down as editor in 2003, his primary focus was working at the British School of Osteopathy, where in addition to his teaching practice since 1988, he established the Chapman Clinic, to provide an HIV osteopathy clinic, in association with the Royal Free Hospital.
Paul had a tremendous and steady intellect and a unique critical view that enabled him to comment on new advances and current practice with such masterly understatement that would make disagreeing with his conclusions extremely difficult.
He also had a wicked sense of humour, adding an article on the increases in “internet-related STIs” with a chuckle “because doctors love reading about this sort of thing” or commenting proudly on his own 7-drug salvage regimen in the late 90s that “none of them are made by Glaxo”.
i-Base trustee and former ATP member, Hope Mhereza said: “Paul was a big influence on the growth of treatment activism and much of what we know now and do today is owed to his involvement in the early years of HIV, when little was known of how treatments work. We are immensely proud of Paul and the HIV community is poorer without him.”
Our thoughts and wishes are with his partner, family and friends.
Paul will be deeply missed.
The BSO website includes a webpage in memory of Paul.