Open Letter: We Need a World Class Leader at the Helm of the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

14 Jul 2021


President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500


Dear President Biden:


We are writing today as civil society organizations from around the world out of grave concern for your Administration’s continued delays in appointing a U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, the leader of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).


This decision is causing great harm to the AIDS response globally and in our countries, and is being seen as a deprioritization of the AIDS crisis by your Administration. This is unacceptable, particularly during a time of the dueling pandemics of HIV and COVID-19.


The need for an accomplished global leader nominated for a permanent appointment with the political and technical expertise to lead your Administration’s efforts to defeat HIV as a public health threat has never been greater. As global partners that have worked with the program shoulder to shoulder since its inception we are calling on you to fulfil the promises of bold leadership and engagement that your Administration so eloquently spoke of at the UN High Level meeting on HIV.


We are astonished that, after committing publicly during your candidacy to prioritize the fight against global AIDS, you have taken your eye off the ball. This is harming the responses both to HIV and to COVID-19.


The COVID-19 pandemic is sending shockwaves through our communities, with devastating consequences for HIV treatment and prevention access, particularly for criminalized, marginalized and vulnerable populations.


Meanwhile the powerful lessons of PEPFAR in how to deploy U.S. government funding to save millions of lives are sorely needed amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Without a bold and ambitious leader at the head of the U.S. global AIDS response, both efforts will be undermined. TheAdministration’s global health security priorities must not be pitted against the global AIDS response — that is a misguided strategy that does not serve either goal.


That is why we are humbly requesting you to immediately appoint a bold, creative, and qualified leader as Ambassador of OGAC, and to ensure the Biden-Harris Administration builds on the commitment by prior administrations to ensure that whoever holds this position has the authority required to succeed.


Sincerely,

Pan Africa ILGA (PAI)
Development Agenda for Girls and Women in Africa Network (DAWA)
Africa Sex Workers’ Alliance (ASWA)
Access Care Treatment and Support (ACTS), Ghana
Advocacy Core Team, Zimbabwe
APCOM (Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health), Thailand
Bar Hostesses Empowerment and Support Group (BHESP), Kenya
Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA), Botswana
Busia Survivors, Kenya
Coalition of Women living with HIV/AIDS (COWHLA), Malawi
Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS UGANDA), Uganda
Coast Sex Workers’ Alliance (COSWA), Kenya
Dandora Community AIDS Support Association, Kenya
Empower, Cameroon
Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK)
Health Development Consultancy Services Cameroon (HEDECS), Cameroon
Highlighting Equitable Access to Rights (HEAR), Nigeria
International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC)
Ishtar MSM, Kenya
Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN), Kenya
Kenya Sex Workers’ Alliance (KESWA)
Key Population Consortium of Kenya
Lean on Me Foundation, Kenya
Lesbian Intersex Trans and other Extensions (LITE), Malawi
Minority Persons Empowerment Program (MPEG), Kenya
Mozambique treatment Access Movement (MATRAM), Mozambique
Nairobi Outreach Services Trust (NOSET), Kenya
National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NAPWA), South Africa
Network of Journalists Living with HIV (JONEHA), Malawi
Pamoja TB Group, Kenya
The People’s Matrix, Lesotho
Positive Action Campaign, South Africa
Positive Women’s Network, South Africa
Ritshidze, South Africa
Responsive Action for Visible Empowerment (RAVE), Nigeria
SisterLove International South Africa
South African Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV/AIDS (SANERELA+), South Africa
Swaziland Network of Young Positives (SNP+), Eswatini
SWOP Ambassadors, Kenya
TB Proof, South Africa
Tanzania AIDS Forum, Tanzania
Tanzania Network of Women Living with HIV and AIDS, Tanzania
Thriving Inclusive Community Organisation (TICO), Rwanda
Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), South Africa
Uganda Key Populations Consortium (UKPC), Uganda
Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organisations (UNASO), Uganda
Umzingwane AIDS Network (UAN), Zimbabwe
Vietnam Network of People Living with HIV (VNP+), Vietnam
Voice of our Voices (VOOV), Lesotho
Wings To Transcend, Namibia
Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK), Kenya
Wote Youth Development Projects, Kenya
Youth Engage, Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean Community Health Intervention Research Project (ZiCHIRe-BC), Zimbabwe
AVAC, Global
Coalition Plus International
Global Black Gay Men Connect (GBGMC), Global
Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+ Global)
Health GAP, Global
International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), Global
SisterLove Inc, USA


CC:
The Honorable Antony John Blinken, United States Secretary of State
Linda Etim, Senior Director for Development, Global Health, and Humanitarian
Response, National Security Council
Catherine M. Russell, Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office
Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to the President of the United States
Gayle Smith, Coordinator of the Global COVID response and Health Security
Loyce Pace, Director, Office of Global Affairs, Department of Health & Human Services
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Health

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