Stephen Karpiak, pioneering HIV researcher, dies at the age of 74

Stephen Karpiak, pioneering HIV researcher, dies at the age of 74


“He was never far from losing all these people,” said his brother, who is his only immediate survivor. “And it was deeply connected to his personal life. He has lost his lover who was his soul mate. “

The death of his partner moved something inside him.

“When he finally saw the survivors, he saw that they did not survive well,” he added. “So Stephen thought, ‘How can I do something about it?’ When it happened in the 1980s, he couldn’t do anything, but then he got his chance. “

Dr. Karpiak left Columbia University in the mid-1990s and moved to Phoenix to run a clinic for people living with HIV. He also ran an agency there that provided shelter to homeless people living with the virus.

Dr. Karpiak returned to New York in 1999 to lead the Pride Senior Network. One day at a health fair, he issued a simple questionnaire that asked, If you are older and suddenly get sick, do you have someone to look after you? After studying the answers, he conducted his research.

Dr. Karpiak joined the faculty of New York University’s College of Nursing at age 60 and later worked for GMHC (formerly Gay Men’s Health Crisis) where he founded the National Resource Center on HIV and Aging.

As the coronavirus pandemic hit New York, Dr. Karpiak worries about how older people living with HIV would be affected by the lockdown. Trapped in his Hell’s Kitchen apartment, he attended web conferences with medical experts to study the subject. He always encouraged his research topics to tune in so they could hear someone was looking for them.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that we are an aging society,” said Dr. Karpiak in 2020. “We keep hearing misinformation: ‘This virus only affects old people’ so most people ‘don’t have to worry’ it that much. ‘”

“I’ve heard a lot of older adults say, ‘The worst thing in the world is feeling abandoned,'” he continued. “It is even more disturbing to hear from them: ‘There is something worse than AIDS, like loneliness.'”



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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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