amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

In Memoriam:
amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim, 1926−2018

zubackJanuary 16, 2018 — The board of trustees and staff of amfAR mourn the passing of our beloved Founding Chairman, Mathilde Krim, Ph.D. A pioneer in AIDS research and activism, Dr. Krim was at the forefront of scientific and philanthropic responses to HIV/AIDS long before the world fully understood its catastrophic global reach.

“Dr. Krim had such a profound impact on the lives of so many,” said amfAR Chief Executive Officer Kevin Robert Frost. “While we all feel a penetrating sadness at the loss of someone we loved so deeply, it is important to remember how much she gave us and the millions for whom she dedicated her life. There is joy to be found in knowing that so many people alive today literally owe their lives to this great woman.”

She dedicated herself to increasing the public’s awareness of AIDS and became personally active in AIDS research through her work with interferons—natural substances now used in the treatment of certain viral and neoplastic diseases.

As amfAR’s founding chairman, and chairman of the board from 1990 to 2004, she was the heart and soul of the organization. She helped create it, supported it, kept it afloat more than once, and guided it with extraordinary dedication until poor health forced her to assume a less active role.

Dr. Krim testified on Capitol Hill on several occasions and, with the help of allies such as Senator Edward M. Kennedy, was a driving force behind legislation that expanded access to lifesaving treatment and behind efforts to scale up federal funding for AIDS research. In August 2000, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor in the United States.

“Dr. Krim’s courageous leadership at a time when few were willing to confront this crisis has benefited lives globally and will continue to inspire our commitment to find a cure,” said amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole.

At the request of her family, donations may be sent in lieu of flowers to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, 120 Wall Street, 13th Floor, New York, NY 10005, or may be made online here. 100% of your donation will go to the Mathilde Krim Fellowships in Basic Biomedical Research and amfAR’s search for a cure.

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Read the full obituary here: amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim: 1926−2018 


amfAR Tribute to Dr. Mathilde Krim


More on Dr. Mathilde Krim

Catalyst for good: in Memoriam Mathilde Krim

Dr. Mathilde Krim to Be Represented in the National Portrait Gallery

amfAR Announces Inaugural Mathilde Krim Fellowship Awards for AIDS Research

Bringing Science to Bear: Questions for Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., amfAR Founding Chairman

Reflections on 30 Years of amfAR

AIDS at 30: A Relentless Search for Answers





Your Messages of Condolence

If you would like to send a comment or message of condolence, email

Debra Fraser-Howze:

Mathilde was a mentor. She was with me when we got Mayor Dinkins to approve nesdle exchange. She was with me when we addressed crack houses in Harlem that had border babies pouring into inner city hospitals. She was with me when I founded the National Black Leardership Commission on AIDS, and allowed me to use her home for meetings with Black clergy and leadership and came with me to Glen Cove NY to initiate the founding Meeting of NBLCA more than 30 years ago. She was the wife of one of the most powerful men in entertainment. Her husband was the President of Orion Pictures, Yet she was a friend who let you take off your shoes and sit in her smoking room and partake in all delicacies she had her housing staff prepare while she worked with you all day on the strategy for the next big movement in HIV/AIDS policy. We grieved together when others in our circle lost those we also loved.

She Was Amazing!! She will forever be my mentor and my friend. Rest In Peace Mathilde you paid your dues on Earth and when my ancestors ask what did I do with my freedom, I will tell them that one of those things was befriending you. I love you. May God bless and keep you.

Karen Elaine Cress:

A public health pioneer, a courageous advocate, a brilliant scientist, a remarkable and generous woman. I am so proud to have known and worked with the extraordinary Dr. Mathilde Krim. We have lost one of the greatest AIDS advocates the world has ever seen. Rest in peace, Dr. Krim.


Dr. Krim’s contribution to the Fight Against Aids is truly incalculable. In 1983 she founded what is now known as amfAR. She took on a battle against a disease that was defined by stigma, hatred, fear and death. Because of her dedication and commitment to this disease, millions of people are living full productive lives. I wish she could have lived to see the cure. Rest In Peace Dr. Krim and thank you. - H. Hendelson

vincent gaeta:

An amazing woman and one of the greatest scientists of all time. She was a visionary and a champion for those who were not having their voices heard. She was compassionate to those most in need. We all must continue her mission and the fight to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.

Dean Elijah:

Pioneer, Scientist, GLBTQI Ally & Friend, Thank you xxx

Thomas Bognanno:

On behalf of Community Health Charities, its staff and Board of Directors, I would like to convey my most sincere condolences on the passing of Dr. Mathilde Krim. Dr. Krim’s greatest legacy will be her life of fearless and visionary leadership in awakening a sleeping world to the devastating realities associated with what became an HIV/AIDS global crisis. Her tireless commitment to find a cure is both inspirational and a clarion call to others to continue her fight against HIV/AIDS.

Jirair Ratevosian:

RIP Dr. Mathilde Krim. Thank you for my first job in Washington. You changed the world...and this young guy forever. You blazed trails for thousands of us to follow. The necessary fight continues, in your memory.


Dr. Krim is a true hero in the fight against AIDS, a dignified, compassionate and powerful champion of both the science and the humanity at the heart of the epidemic. The right woman, the right person, the right doctor, the right leader, at the right time, we won't see her like again. It is an honor to celebrate her today and to pledge to carry on her legacy in years to come.

John G:

Thank you Dr. Krim for your work.