Irl Sells Barefield

  • Tuesday December 22, 2015
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January 26, 1960 – December 7, 2015

Irl Barefield, 55, died of natural causes on Monday, December 7, 2015. After studying at Kenyon College and the University of Chicago, he graduated from the Boalt School of Law at UC Berkeley, worked with Morrison and Foerster and Cooley Godward, and as director of HIV care at St. Francis Memorial Hospital. In 2000, he became executive director of AIDS Research Alliance where, along with Paul Cox, he negotiated a revolutionary agreement with the Samoan government for access to the bark of the Mamala tree, assuring that if the product were commercially successful profits would be split between medical research, the people of Samoa, and the pharmaceuticals. The ingredient, Prostratin, has proven successful in rendering the HIV virus undetectable in primates and is in early stages of human clinical trials at ARA. He returned to San Francisco in 2010.

In addition to his professional work, Irl was a volunteer with the Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San Francisco, serving on its board, including two terms as president.

Irl is predeceased by his parents, the Reverend Sam S. and Mary Nell Sells Barefield, and is survived by a sister, Beth (David) Bogart; a brother, Steven (Kyu Yamamoto); and three nephews Ed (Jenn) Bogart, Ryan (Angie Sommer) Bogart, and Dean Bogart.

Memorial gifts may be directed to