In Memory of Zena Stein

November 10, 2021

Public health, human rights and HIV prevention champion, Zena Stein died this week, at the age of 99. Zena inspired and mentored nearly everyone working in public health in South Africa and in microbicide research, and has likely knowingly or not, influenced so many of us working in HIV prevention research and advocacy today.

Zena and her husband Mervyn Susser were pioneering anti-apartheid activists, epidemiologists and public health practitioners. They ended up in exile from apartheid and eventually landed at Columbia University where they both had long, distinguished careers. Amongst other things, Zena helped “launch” the field of HIV prevention options focused on women, including the female condom and microbicide research. Truly a visionary, here is what she wrote 31 years ago — when microbicides were called “virucides”:

image of abstract from article

Click to enlarge.