Salim S. Abdool Karim appointed to lead U.N. HIV panel

The head of the United Nations recently appointed Salim S. Abdool Karim, an epidemiologist from South Africa, to chair an HIV/AIDS panel that offers guidance and innovations to the fight against the epidemic.

"To reach the end of the AIDS epidemic, we need to continue to embrace science and innovation and I am delighted that Professor Karim has agreed to take on the leadership of our new UNAIDS scientific panel," Michel Sidibé, executive director of the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS said.

Karim has conducted research on HIV epidemiology, prevention, pathogenesis and treatment over the past 25 years. He is currently the director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, which is a long-term UNAIDS partner.

His role in the panel will be to provide strategic guidance and recommendations about the relevance of new research and how to implement new findings to prevent new HIV outbreaks and protect those living with HIV.

"Science has the power to illuminate the future path to defeating AIDS. I am humbled by this appointment and look forward to this new challenge," Karim said.

During his address, Sidibé mentioned the case of the 'Mississippi baby,' the first case in which a baby with mother-to-child HIV transmission was relieved of symptoms by using antiretroviral drugs. Such occurrences are things the panel can observe and use to strategize how to decrease the overall prevalence of HIV worldwide.