IAS – the International AIDS Society – applauds plans to nominate Dr John Nkengasong to lead the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Born in Cameroon, Dr Nkengasong has worked for many years in Africa, the world’s most heavily HIV-affected region where many PEPFAR programmes are implemented.
“The role of African leadership is vital in the HIV response,” IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman said. “If confirmed in this position, Dr John Nkengasong’s understanding of the societal, political and scientific landscape and the clinical and public health needs in the region most affected by HIV will enable him and PEPFAR to bring science, policy and activism closer together.
“His leadership will be critical to advance the tremendous gains made by PEPFAR in regions most affected by the HIV pandemic that have had a significant setback as a result of COVID-19 and address the inequities, stigma and discrimination that still hinder the HIV response.”
Dr Nkengasong, a virologist, would be the first person of African origin to lead PEPFAR in its 18-year history. He currently serves as the Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Under his leadership, Dr Nkengasong has trained and empowered young African scientists and improved COVID-19 testing and access to vaccines
This is a new chapter for PEPFAR. The IAS looks forward to the confirmation of Dr Nkengasong in this position and to him enhancing global collaboration towards our shared goal of strengthening and sustaining the HIV response.
Forty years since AIDS was first reported, 38 million people are estimated to be living with HIV worldwide.
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