I first met David shortly after arriving to work in Zimbabwe in 2015. He became a colleague and friend and we continued to collaborate, after my return to the UK in 2019, and indeed until his death in Harare, Zimbabwe, from the consequences of Covid-19 infection, on January 24th, 2021, with several manuscripts of this very productive collaboration, currently still in press. His lifelong contribution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and his expertise in HIV virology, the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV genotyping and HIV drug resistance was internationally recognised and indeed acclaimed. Whilst I benefited hugely from this knowledge and expertise; it is as a human being that I will remember David.
David was a larger-than-life personality! Amazingly enthusiastic about everything and with huge intelligence; he could be overwhelming! But this behaviour was wellmeant and never ever rude or arrogant. It reflected a scientist and individual whose excitement about life and the science that he pursued was highly focussed and who did not wish to waste unnecessary time with niceties but wanted rather to get on with his visionary scientific programme. This was not ever just for the sake of the science but because he cared so deeply for the Zimbabwean population affected by the HIV/AIDS Epidemic. He was an inspiration. He had sacrificed what could have been a very easy and comfortable life in sunny California for the HIV/ AIDS bush war in Zimbabwe.
He was an outstanding clinician and scientist but he was much more than that. He was an outstanding human being; decent, kind, modest and completely un-assuming, absolutely honest and reliable, amazingly generous with time and resources, deeply caring of other people, particularly his own team, students and collaborators, but most particularly of those Zimbabweans infected by the HIV virus. He always had time for everyone. He was indeed inspirational and his premature death is a disaster not only for those who knew and cared about him but particularly for those in Zimbabwe, afflicted by the HIV/ AIDS Epidemic, for whom he gave his time, expertise and ultimately his life. He was larger than life, an exemplar, as both a human being and scientist, and I was very lucky and proud to have had the opportunity to work with him and come to know him. He has left a huge mark, personally and professionally, and he will never be forgotten.