By Henry Opondo
A South African with a long history of research work on HIV and AIDS has been appointed as the new Executive Director of the International AIDS Society (IAS).
Kevin Osborne’s career of more than 30 years in public health includes experience in pioneering major projects and approaches in shaping responses, particularly towards sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV integration.
“We are delighted to welcome Kevin as the new Executive Director of the IAS,” IAS President Linda-Gail Bekker said. “Kevin is a true connector who can bring together scientists, advocates, donors and policy makers. He has played a pivotal role in South Africa and on the global stage to advance access to treatment and prevention and better integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services.”
Osborne said it was an honour to represent the IAS at this pivotal moment in the global fight against HIV. “We are at a crossroads with both ambitious global goals to end this epidemic and looming threats to global funding and sound policy. As the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, our mission to advance science and mobilize collective action has never been more important.”
Osborne has supported a number of national, regional and international programmes by forging sustainable partnerships with governments, UN agencies and donors. He is also the first IAS Executive Director openly living with HIV, bringing lived experience to the role and deep connections to those most affected by the epidemic.
He has extensive experience in managing diverse teams and supporting large-scale initiatives through his previous roles as South Africa Country Director for PATH and as the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Global HIV Advisor in London.
Osborne joined the IAS executive team in 2016 as Director of HIV Programmes and Advocacy. Previously, he served as FHI 360’s Global Project Director of the PEPFAR-and USAID-supported LINKAGES project, where he was responsible for working with key populations and public and community institutions in 24 countries to reduce HIV transmission and improve care and treatment.
Osborne succeeds Owen Ryan, who has held the position since 2014. Ryan announced in January that he would step down after the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in July 2018.
The IAS Governing Council led an extensive search process through a committee made up of 17 people from 13 countries, who reviewed over 100 applications and conducted extensive outreach to members, donors and IAS staff.
Osborne will take up the position in August 2018 and will be present at AIDS 2018 in Amsterdam.
“I am confident in Kevin to lead the next phase of the IAS. Looking forward, as we work to ensure that the International AIDS Conference and IAS Conference on HIV Science are inclusive spaces, representative of our whole community,” Owen Ryan said. “The IAS could not be in better hands.”