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Starting in 1996, the Jonathan Lax Memorial Award Lecture honors the memory of Jonathan Lax, a Philadelphia community leader who made significant contributions to civil rights, gay rights, and HIV activism/therapy. Hosted by The Wistar Institute, the Lax Lecture is a public lecture that brings together leading international HIV scientists to give research updates to local researchers, clinicians, and patient advocates. Mr. Lax was a businessman, inventor, teacher, and one of the best-known AIDS activists in Philadelphia’s clinical research network, working with many groups to try and speed the drug approval process. Perhaps most importantly, he was an advisor, offering the latest available information to those infected with the HIV virus – a tradition the Lecture continues to this day. Today, Mr. Lax’s legacy also includes the Jonathan Lax Center at Philadelphia FIGHT, which started as a clinic with his initial funds in 1996 and now the largest provider of AIDS care in Philadelphia.

202226th Annual Jonathan Lax Lecture

Opening with a musical performance by Moses Supercharger and the Stigma-less Band, the 2022 Lax Lecture features award recipient Mike McCune, M.D., Ph.D., Head, HIV Frontiers, Biotechnology Accelerator, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, delivering the Jonathan Lax Memorial Award Lecture, Bringing Safe and Effective “Curative” Interventions for HIV and Sickle Cell Disease to Resource-Limited Parts of the World. Following Dr. McCune’s lecture, a global panel of HIV cure community advocates discussed the question, What does a cure for HIV mean to me?

2021Wistar Legacy Awards and 25th Annual Jonathan Lax Lecture

The 2021 Jonathan Lax Memorial Award recipient and lecturer was Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIH). This lecture commemorated 25 years of continuous HIV research collaboration and featured special talks from Jane Shull, chief executive officer of Philadelphia FIGHT, philanthropist Ken Nimblett, The Philadelphia Foundation, and the Robert I. Jacobs Fund. Other guest speakers included David Fair, HIV/LGBTQ activist and founder of Lavender Health (now the Mazzoni Center) and the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office; Ronda Goldfein, Esq., activist, and executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania; and former Philadelphia mayor Reverend Doctor W. Wilson Goode, director and CEO of the Amachi Program mentoring children with incarcerated parents.


Past Jonathan Lax Memorial Award Recipients