UNAIDS regional office for Asia and the Pacific voices its sadness on the death of HIV and TB champion Dean Lewis
Bangkok, Thailand, 8 April 2019 – It is with the deep sadness that UNAIDS Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific mourns the sudden death of Dean Lewis, a long-standing champion for HIV, Harm Reduction, TB and other health issues for the most marginalized in societies. He will be remembered as a strong voice and a change maker in the response to HIV and Tuberculosis and his continued support to break down stigma and discrimination.
UNAIDS Regional Director Eamonn Murphy said that the death of Dean Lewis is a huge loss to the people of India and all those who fight for social justice and access to health not only in India, but throughout the Asia Pacific region and globally.
Dean, who has also been a TB activist for over a decade, devoted himself tirelessly to advocate to act decisively on AIDS and Tuberculosis by increasing access to prevention and treatment services for key populations in his country and globally. Among other roles, he has been a member of different civil society networks including STOP TB Partnership and ACT! AP. He has also been the co-chair of the UN High Level Meeting on TB Civil Society Advisory Panel and the regional focal point for the Global Coalition of TB Activists.
Dean was vocal about the rights of people who use drugs. We recall his words at an interactive civil society meeting in the lead up to the UN HLM on TB in 2018, “….there are people who are invisible in all our countries, people who fall through the cracks in the health system, people who cannot complete their treatment.”
Dean’s commitment will continue to inspire us at UNAIDS and people throughout the region to stand up and speak out for equality and inclusion and to ensure that we indeed leave no one behind.