Dr Leon J Levin, joined Right to Care in March 2008, with the responsibility of heading up a Paediatric HIV programme, a priority for the organisation in 2008. Leon’s primary role is to facilitate paediatric antiretroviral therapy at all the Right to Care antiretroviral sites.
Leon graduated with an MBBCh at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in 1987. He did his internship at Hillbrow Hospital in Johannesburg in 1988 and, for six months in 1989, held the post of Medical Officer in Paediatrics at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.
After training at the Wits group of hospitals in Johannesburg in paediatrics, he obtained his FCPaed (SA) in 1994. In 1995, he obtained his DTM&H, with distinction, from Wits.
Leon’s experience includes three years as a consulting paediatrician at the Johannesburg Hospital. There he worked both in the Paediatric Pulmonology Department and was the head of a unit in the general paediatric wards. In 1996, he founded and ran the Paediatric HIV Clinic at the Johannesburg Hospital. In 1998, he began ten years of work in private paediatric practice in Benoni. He had a large HIV practice and was referred paediatric HIV patients from all over Africa.
Leon has been the Chairman of the Paediatric Subcommittee of the SA HIV Clinicians Society from 1999. He was on the Executive Committee of the SA HIV Clinicians Society until November 2005. He was the convenor of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society Paediatric Antiretroviral Guidelines published in November 2000, October 2002, and December 2005.
Leon founded and runs the South African HIV Clinicians Society Paediatric Discussion Group, which is an Internet-based forum for paediatricians to discuss and learn about problems in paediatric patients with HIV. The mailing list is currently over 900 and reaches all over Africa.
Leon is an advisor on Paediatric Antiretroviral Therapy to South African Medical Insurers and Managed Health Care Organisations. He frequently lectures on paediatric HIV in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
Leon’s interest is getting as many infants and children onto antiretroviral therapy and doing it well. He believes that if these children are started on time with antiretroviral therapy, that they can have a normal lifespan and excellent quality of life. A secondary interest is preventing mother to child transmission of the HIV virus. “As good as antiretroviral therapy is in children, I would rather deal with a negative child, “Leon says.