Joseph Adolph Sonnabend was born on Jan. 6, 1933, in Johannesburg and grew up in Bulawayo, in what was then Rhodesia.
His mom, Fira, who grew up in Russia and studied in Italy, was a household physician, one of many first Western-trained feminine physicians in Rhodesia and a champion of contraception. His father, Heinrich, initially from Germany, was a professor of psychology and sociology. They crammed the home with artwork and music — together with piano classes for Joseph — and shared a dedication to social and racial justice.
Joseph graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 1956 and from the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh in 1961.
He skilled on the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, a suburb of London, working with colleagues who made vital discoveries involving interferons, naturally occurring proteins that intervene with viruses.
Moving to New York, he continued that analysis on the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and on the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. He moonlighted with the New York City Health Department, the place he tracked outbreaks of sexually transmitted illnesses.
When he opened his clinic and commenced treating folks with AIDS, the co-op board in his constructing sought to evict him, saying that having AIDS sufferers troop via the foyer would decrease property values. Dr. Sonnabend and 5 of his sufferers sued and gained what grew to become one of many first AIDS-related civil rights circumstances.
After 35 years in New York, he retired and moved to London.
Complete info on Dr. Sonnabend’s survivors was unavailable. He was briefly married and had two sons from different relationships. His sister, Yolanda Sonnabend, a famend stage designer, died in 2015.