June 13, 2022
Yesterday, Dr. John Nkengasong was sworn-in as the US Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy overseeing PEPFAR, the largest funder of HIV/AIDS programming in the world. We are confident that with Ambassador Nkengasong’s ambitious leadership, vision and experience, PEPFAR and the global community can maintain the urgency and impact in ending the AIDS pandemic, continue responding to COVID, and build the sustainable health infrastructure that we so desperately need.
We also want to thank Angeli Achrekar for her steadfast commitment to end the AIDS pandemic and her terrific leadership over the past two years.
At AVAC, our eyes are on three major actions to help us get there these next few months – and urge Ambassador Nkengasong’s and PEPFAR to take immediate and bold actions to:
- Leverage new biomedical prevention options to re-boot primary prevention – and make sure these new options become viable choices for all people who can benefit from them. Accelerating access and introduction of injectable CAB for PrEP and ensuring political and financial support to also introduce the dapivirine vaginal ring provide an opportunity to build comprehensive, sustainable and integrated prevention programmatic platforms to deliver choice today and build for a future of even more options.
- Center communities in the prevention response. Generating deeper, more consistent community engagement in prevention requires restructuring community engagement. Community input must move beyond “consultation” on specific questions or challenges to a deeper, more meaningful, sustained, strategic engagement that supports the full navigation of challenges from research to rollout, in all their complexity.
- Imbed the AIDS response into the future of global health security and pandemic preparedness and response (PPR). The certainty of more complex and challenging health crises on the horizon demands rights-based public health approaches that focus on health systems strengthening, comprehensive integration of key health priorities including HIV, TB, malaria, sexual and reproductive health and non-communicable diseases and lay effective groundwork for addressing emerging health priorities in the future. And efforts to build a global pandemic response capacity must leverage the organizational capacities, investments, and reach of PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
There remain enormous challenges and opportunities ahead. We are very excited to welcome Ambassador Nkengasong back to PEPFAR and for his leadership in the global AIDS response. We look very forward to working with him toward our shared goals of ending the AIDS epidemic and ensuring global health equity.