Mary Guinan brought courage and pluck to her work as one of the first female physicians to work on smallpox eradication and AIDS, captured in her new memoir, Adventures of a Female Medical Detective In Pursuit of Smallpox and AIDS.
In an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, she says the hope of eradicating smallpox lured her away from medicine and into the world of epidemiology. She had to fight to volunteer for India’s smallpox eradication program, which didn’t allow women at the time—but she didn’t back down until she was accepted.
Later, she went on to fight HIV. She’s famous for her response to a CNN reporter who asked if she was sure you couldn't catch AIDS from a toilet seat: "The only way that I know you can get AIDS is if you sit on it before someone else gets up."