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Humanitarian activist Winnie Byanyima named to head UNAIDS

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UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has selected humanitarian activist Winifred “Winnie” Byanyima to head the United Nations agency responsible for helping end the AIDS epidemic.

She will replace Michel Sidibe, who left in May following allegations he mishandled sexual abuse claims at UNAIDS.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced the appointment Wednesday of Byanyima, a Ugandan who currently heads Oxfam International, the British-based aid group.

Byanyima said in an email to Oxfam staff that she had “very personal reasons” for seeking the job — the loss of her brother Bernard and many friends and relatives to AIDS, and the fact that “I’m guardian to children who are HIV/AIDS orphans.”

She said ending AIDS “is an extremely important social justice issue,” particularly in Africa where the epidemic is widespread.

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