She is an African, feminist and human rights activist who has just been appointed to arguably one of the most important jobs in coordinating and leading the international AIDS response, possibly at the most significant moment in the epidemic's lifespan.
Winifred "Winnie" Byanyima was on Wednesday 14 August formally announced as the new executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Byanyima will vacate her position as head of Oxfam International. She replaces Gunilla Carlsson, who had been the interim leader of UNAIDS since Michel Sidibé stepped down earlier in 2019.
"I am honoured to be joining UNAIDS as the executive director at such a critical time in the response to HIV," said Byanyima in a UNAIDS statement released overnight.
"The end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world's reach, but I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. Working with all its partners, UNAIDS must continue to speak up for the people left behind and champion human rights as the only way to end the epidemic."
Byanyima, who has no high-level experience in HIV, had been the executive director of Oxfam International since 2013....