Mar. 1, 2020

UNAIDS welcomes the appointment of Deborah Birx as White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator

GENEVA, 29 February 2020—UNAIDS welcomes the appointment of Deborah Birx as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. Ms Birx’s distinguished career as a world-renowned medical expert has included her contribution to the recent progressin the global response to HIV and her commitment to working with communities affected by HIV in her position as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator and United States Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.

“Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to appoint Deborah Birx to serve as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator is a wise one,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima. “Ms Birx has repeatedly demonstrated her unparalleled ability to controlinfectious diseases and is extremely well positioned to develop an effective plan to address COVID-19 in the United States of America.”

Connecting people in need quickly with services that prevent, or treat, the effects of disease requires a specialized skill that Ms Birx has developed over her nearly three decades as a public health expert. Her experience with tackling disease-related stigmaand discrimination and her understanding of how to develop effective health responses that deliver results for people will be invaluable in her new role.

"I am confident that Ms Birx will translate the expertise she has applied to HIV to COVID-19,” said Ms Byanyima. “The insights gleaned from the response to HIV can be helpful for the containment of this new viral threat. There is a need for more collaborativework across disease categories. Even as we battle new diseases, we must remain vigilant about concurrent epidemics.”