Diane Havlir, MD is a UCSF Professor and Chief of the HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine Division at ZSFG, home to world-renowned HIV research and Ward 86 clinical program. She is also the Associate Chair of Clinical Research in the Department of Medicine and Principal Investigator of the Sustainable East Africa Research in Community Health (SEARCH) Study and Interim-Director of the UCSF AIDS Research Institute (ARI).
She was a resident at UCSF when the AIDS epidemic emerged in the 1980s, and she has both cared for HIV patients and conducted research—transforming national and international guidelines ever since. She is a long-standing NIH-funded investigator with over 400 publications including in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and other high impact journals. Dr. Havlir was a Co-founder and continues as a Co-chair of San Francisco Getting to Zero (GTZ), a citywide consortium with a goal to eliminate new HIV infections and deaths. Diane has been very active globally via leadership roles in the World Health Organization (WHO), having chaired the HIV global drug resistance surveillance network, and the HIV-TB working group. She is the current co-chair of the WHO HIV treatment and prevention global guidelines, and Chair of the United Nations AIDS Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, which provides high-level guidance on global action to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The overall goal of her research is to develop therapeutic and prevention strategies to respond to global infectious disease pandemics: HIV, TB, and COVID-19. Antiretroviral therapy (for prevention or treatment) is one of the greatest successes in medicine, yet we have not fully used it to eliminate HIV or tuberculosis (TB). In the SEARCH study, Dr. Havlir and her team showed that a multi-disease, patient-centered approach to HIV testing and treatment reduced HIV incidence, HIV-associated tuberculosis and HIV-associated mortality, while improving population-level control of hypertension in a NIH-funded 320,000 person cluster-randomized study in rural East Africa. She continues towards her goal to accelerate the end of AIDS through the SEARCH-Sapphire study, which tests innovative prevention and treatment strategies intended to reach vulnerable populations left behind by current approaches. The study team is currently testing a multi-disease and multi-sector approach, on a path to universal healthcare.
In addition to SEARCH-Sapphire, her research team is actively working on COVID-19 test-and-respond and vaccination services in San Francisco. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Havlir established the city-community-academic partnership Unidos en Salud, which has provided low barrier test-and-respond and vaccine services to thousands of persons in the Mission district of San Francisco, and has tracked epidemiologic trends, including the recent West Coast SARS-CoV-2 variant. Through a collaboration with the Latino Task Force, CZ Biohub, SFDPH and BayPLS, Unidos en Salud designed and evaluated low-barrier mass “test-and-respond” and vaccine interventions in San Francisco, to understand and intervene on COVID transmission in the disproportionately affected Latinx population.