IAPAC Expresses its Gratitude to Former Amb. Deborah L. Birx

Statement by Dr. José M. Zuniga
President/CEO and Trustee At-Large
International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
8 March 2021 • Washington, DC, USA

“On the occasion of her retirement from the U.S. Government, and on behalf of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), I express my sincere gratitude to former Amb. Deborah L. Birx for her invaluable contributions to the field of HIV medicine and global health humanitarianism during a distinguished career, including her successful tenure as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.

Appointed to lead the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program in 2014 by President Barack Obama, Dr. Birx worked tirelessly through two presidential administrations to support PEPFAR partner countries with implementation of accelerated, data-driven approaches aimed at controlling and, ultimately, ending national and urban HIV epidemics. She also created DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe), a public-private partnership focused on reducing HIV infection rates among adolescent girls and young women, reflecting her commitment to eliminating gender-based health inequities.

In 2016, IAPAC awarded Dr. Birx our Jonathan Mann Health Human Rights Award. During the award ceremony, I said (and continue to believe) that her actions have always been carried forward in the best interest of marginalized communities that stand to benefit the most from but are too often left behind in the global HIV response. The course of action she undertook at PEPFAR speaks to the dignity that was central to the late Dr. Jonathan Mann’s advocacy to disrupt the status quo that leaves so many people subject to unnecessary suffering and death. Moreover, through her efforts at PEPFAR, advanced through her staff and in collaboration with partner institutions, Dr. Birx paved the way for much of the progress that had been achieved against HIV in almost every PEPFAR partner country before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I wish Dr. Birx every success in her future endeavors. I also hope that her successor at PEPFAR will build upon her legacy. These are challenging times during which the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global HIV response. Accountability, commitment, engagement, and tenacity are prerequisites for this critical leadership role. The respect for the dignity of life that Dr. Birx exemplified during her tenure at PEPFAR’s helm will be equally essential as the international community strives to regain forward momentum to end the global HIV pandemic.


About the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care

With more than 30,000 members globally, IAPAC is the largest association of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and viral hepatitis by 2030. IAPAC is also the core technical partner of the Fast-Track Cities initiative and the Secretariat for its Fast-Track Cities Institute (https://www.ftcinstitute.org/). For more information about IAPAC and our global activities, please visit: https://www.iapac.org/