President Joe Biden to Take on Staff Dr. John N. Nkengasong to Lead HIV/AIDS Response

Dr. John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Photo by: Denis Balibouse / Reuters

President Joe Biden intends to appoint U.S. citizen born in Cameroon, Africa, Dr. John N. Nkengasong, as coordinator of the U.S. response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide. Nkengasong would be the first person of African descent to hold that position.

Nkengasong, a virologist, currently directs the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a specialized technical institution of the African Union based in Ethiopia.

If confirmed, Nkengasong would become an ambassador-at-large at the State Department, overseeing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR. Dr. Deborah Birx held that position before resigning after Biden took office.

The U.S. invested more than $85 billion in the global response to HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR created by then president George W. Bush in 2003.

The Senate must approve Nkengasong’s nomination.

– Ella Breedlove

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