Johannesburg: Acclaimed South African Indian-origin AIDS researcher Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim has been appointed as a UNAIDS Special Ambassador for Adolescents and HIV.
Professor Abdool Karim is one of the world’s leading AIDS researchers and has made pioneering contributions to understanding the HIV epidemic among young people, especially among young women.
She is a strong advocate for the rights of people living with and affected by HIV.
In her new role as a UNAIDS Special Ambassador, Abdool Karim will focus on adolescents and HIV, while also championing the involvement of young women in science.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Last month, Abdool Karim and her husband Professor Salim Abdool Karim received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute for Human Virology (IHV) in Baltimore, US.
Post her appointment as the special ambassador, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibei said the organisation “looks forward” to supporting her Abdook Karim’s work.
“A strong and consistent champion of young people living with and affected by HIV, she will use her new role to continue to translate scientific research and knowledge into people-centred solutions and prevention programmes to reduce the factors making young people so vulnerable to HIV infection,” Sidibei said.
“As we increase our understanding of the HIV epidemic and the transmission dynamics that place young people at higher risk of infection, all sectors of society must work together to make sure that adolescents have access to the information and services that can keep them safe and well through a crucial period of their lives and into adulthood,” said Professor Abdool Karim.
Professor Abdool Karim is Professor in Clinical Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, United States of America, and an Honorary Professor in Public Health at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
She is also a member of the UNAIDS Scientific Expert Panel and Scientific Adviser to the Executive Director of UNAIDS.
In 2013, Professor Abdool Karim was awarded South Africa’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, for her contribution to the response to HIV.
(By Fakir Hassen)