The International AIDS Society (IAS) mourns the passing of Pierre Bergé, a giant in the fight against AIDS and a renowned human rights advocate. Pierre died at the age of 86 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, on 7 September 2017.
A successful businessman, a patron of the arts and an active member of the supervisory board of Le Monde, Pierre used his wealth and influence to make the world a better, more just place.
Pierre was a founder of Sidaction and its president since 1996. He played a pivotal role in the organization’s efforts to raise awareness, political commitment and resources to address the HIV epidemic. In this role, Pierre tirelessly advocated for the rights of people living with HIV, as well for those most affected by HIV, including sex workers, people who use drugs, and men who have sex with men.
Pierre’s work in the AIDS field was part of a larger commitment to human rights. Pierre was a leading advocate for marriage equality in France, as well as for the rights of people to die with dignity.
When the breadth of the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa became increasingly apparent, Pierre advocated for rights-based action to address the region’s epidemic. He was particularly active in urging for a more inclusive, more effective response to the epidemic in Burundi.
He was a gracious and generous person, who used his skills, passion, insights, resources and energy to advocate for significant French leadership in the fight against HIV. His support was instrumental in hosting the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris, and we are grateful that Pierre lived to see the conference return to his home country.
We, at the IAS, honour Pierre Bergé’s remarkable life and legacy, and are deeply privileged for having known him. Our thoughts are with Pierre’s friends and family.