Peter Piot, MD, PhD, officially retires as executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on December 31, The New York Times reports in a profile on the doctor.

Piot spoke with the Times to look back at his tenure as the only head of UNAIDS since it was launched in 1996. “When we started, AIDS was definitely not on the world’s political agenda, and now it is,” Piot said.

According to the article, AIDS funding in 1996 totaled only $250 million in developing countries. “Trying to fix a global epidemic with that kind of money is impossible,” he said, “but that is what we were expected to do.”

Current AIDS funding in developing countries is about $10 billion. “If we had the kind of money that we have today 10 years ago, we would have never had an epidemic so out of control,” he said.