Africa: UNAIDS welcomes President Biden's Intent to Nominate John Nkengasong as the New United States Global AIDS Coordinator

Africa CDC Director Dr. John Nkengasong in a panel discussion at the Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting in Kampala, Uganda in 2016.
28 September 2021

Geneva — UNAIDS warmly welcomes the intent of the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, to nominate John Nkengasong as Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally at the Department of State.

One of the world’s leading pandemic experts, Mr Nkengasong is an HIV virologist with decades of experience in the global AIDS response and is the current Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. He is an inspired choice to lead the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest response in history by any nation to a single disease.

“John Nkengasong’s vast experience in combatting HIV, combined with his position as Africa’s leading disease expert fighting Ebola, COVID-19 and more, position him extremely well to guide the United States’ global contribution towards ending the AIDS pandemic,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Today, the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics are colliding in communities throughout the world, and the threat of a resurgent AIDS pandemic is very real. We need the kind of bold thinking and commitment he has brought throughout his career.”

Previously, Mr Nkengasong was Acting Deputy Director, Center for Global Health, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and prior to that the Chief of the International Laboratory Branch, Division of Global HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis, at the CDC. He also served as the Associate Director for Laboratory Science, Division of Global AIDS/HIV and Tuberculosis, Center for Global Health, CDC, and Co-Chair of PEPFAR’s Laboratory Technical Working Group. Mr Nkengasong has served as a member of the UNAIDS Advisory Group since 2019 and as the World Health Organization Director-General’s Special Envoy on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response since 2020.

Marking its 25th anniversary this year, UNAIDS has long partnered with PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to advance progress towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

UNAIDS is very grateful to the Acting United States Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy, Angeli Achrekar, and her team, who have steered PEPFAR through a year of transition between administrations, and multiple pandemics, with urgency and expertise. Ms Achrekar will continue to lead PEPFAR through Mr Nkengasong’s Senate confirmation process.


The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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