The Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad celebrated its 40th Anniversary on December 1, 2012, World AIDS Day. This year, AMHE awarded Dr. Jean Claude Desgranges with an award of excellence for his instrumental contribution in fighting to remove the Stigma of the “4th H” in HIV during the 1980s. The HGD Foundation is proud of Dr. Desgranges’ past and current commitment in fighting for human rights and justice. WE thank you!
Below: Dr. Desgranges’ Speech, which was given at the reception of his award:
Privilege! An Honor!
Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I am truly at a loss of words for the joy I feel in receiving this award from such a prestigious and longstanding organization, the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad (AMHE). Please allow me to express sincere gratitude to the AMHE leadership. Mr. President and members of the central committee: THANK YOU!
However, the best award I’ve ever received was the day when an authority from the CDC and FDA called me to inform me that “Haitians” had been removed from the 4Hs. Not only did science prevail, but also justice was done! That night, back in 1985, I remember I turned on every single light in my house. Someone asked me, “Is it January 1st?” I replied: “You read my mind!” because we just won a battle that closed the door to ethnic exclusion and opened the gate to a more challenging battle against such a deadly disease, which affects the essence of all mankind: our love, our blood and our sex.
Tonight, I feel great because, thanks to the solidarity of the American government and its people, humanity has made some significantprogress in responding to the AIDS epidemic worldwide, particularly in Africa and in Haiti (congratulations Dr. Pape). This is a clear and tangible outcome of science, political support, community response, as well as the commitment and active involvement of all stakeholders.
Brothers and sisters, as science is offering new hope, let’s keep working together to a world with Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, and Zero AIDS related deaths.
Jean-Claude Desgranges, MD, FAGS
December 1st, 2012