Our work began in 1986, in response to the emergence of HIV/AIDS in Australia.
Established as the ‘National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research,’ and led by the late Professor David Cooper AC, a unique approach to disease treatment and prevention was pioneered where researchers worked alongside affected individuals and their care providers, urgently finding solutions to HIV from within the community itself.
Professor Cooper and his colleagues diagnosed some of the first cases of HIV in Australia and significantly contributed to turning the tide of the disease in an astounding three decades, from a terminal diagnosis to a manageable chronic illness – treatable by one pill a day.
It’s a remarkable achievement that the Institute is extremely proud of.
In 2011, the organisation was renamed the Kirby Institute in honour of the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, Australia’s longest-serving judge and a passionate advocate for health and human rights. Michael Kirby became the Institute’s patron two years later in 2013.
Today, under the leadership of Scientia Professor Anthony Kelleher – a longstanding Kirby Institute leader as well as a highly regarded immunologist – the Institute applies its unique way of working to solve a far broader range of infectious diseases and urgent health issues, including hepatitis, human papillomavirus, sexually transmissible infections, COVID-19, emerging infections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and global health.
We also continue our important work in HIV as we share preventions and treatments with those that most need it, in Australia and overseas.