Today we welcomed Dr. John N. Nkengasong as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State.
In this role, Ambassador Nkengasong will lead, manage, and oversee the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history, which has saved 21 million lives and prevented millions of HIV infections in its nearly 20-year history. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. government has invested over $100 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response. The health infrastructure and systems created with PEPFAR support have strengthened the capacity and resilience of countries and communities to address HIV and have served as a backbone for combating other health threats, including COVID-19.
Ambassador Nkengasong brings a wealth of experience, having served previously as the first Director of the African Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as one of the World Health Organization Director-General’s Special Envoys on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response. He began his career at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1995 as head of the virology lab in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and prior to joining Africa CDC, he served as the U.S. CDC’s Acting Deputy Principal Director of the Center for Global Health and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch, Division of Global HIV and TB.
Ambassador Nkengasong steps into this role as the world grapples with the dual pandemics of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19. His three decades of experience in infectious diseases and pandemic preparedness make him ideally suited to shepherds PEPFAR into its next phase of achieving and sustaining HIV epidemic control.
All of us at the Department of State welcome Ambassador Nkengasong and wish him success in his new role. I look forward to continuing to support PEPFAR’s noble and life-saving mission.