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Association of Public Health Laboratories Applauds Nomination of Dr. Deborah Birx as US AIDS Ambassador and Coordinator, Urges Prompt Confirmation

SILVER SPRING, MD -- (Marketwired) -- 01/13/14 -- The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) applauds President Barack Obama's nomination of Dr. Deborah Birx as Ambassador at Large and Coordinator of United States Government activities to address HIV/AIDS globally, and urges prompt confirmation of her nomination by the US Senate.

A renowned expert in the field of HIV/AIDS, Dr. Birx has made major contributions to HIV/AIDS research, treatment and prevention programs in the United States and internationally. She is currently Director of the Division of Global HIV/AIDS at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she has led the agency's global HIV/AIDS activities since 2005.

Dr. Birx began her career in 1985 as a clinician in immunology focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research. She served at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center first as Assistant Chief of the Hospital Immunology Service and then as Director of the US Military HIV Research Program. Her leadership is credited with achieving significant scientific advances, notably an in vivo test of cell-mediated immunity in HIV-infected patients and the Thai Phase III HIV vaccine clinical trial (RV 144), which led to a safe and modestly effective HIV vaccine.

"Deborah Birx is uniquely qualified to serve as the nation's top AIDS official," said Ralph Timperi, MPH, senior advisor of Laboratory, Practice & Management, APHL. "She would bring to the position unparalleled scientific and programmatic expertise plus a deep commitment to combatting the AIDS pandemic. She has contributed directly to the progress of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), literally saving lives. Her nomination comes at a critical point in the AIDS response when we can finally aim for an AIDS-free generation. Deborah Birx is the right person to take us forward toward that goal."

With over 15 years' experience in 31 countries on five continents, APHL works to strengthen national laboratory systems through laboratory training, strategic planning, implementation of laboratory information management systems, external quality assessment and other services. Currently it supports PEPFAR in 21 countries.

The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems to prevent and control disease in the US and globally. The nonprofit organization is located in Silver Spring, MD.

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