Peter Piot (1949) is a Belgian medical doctor and former head of UNAIDS. He completed his medical degree at the University of Ghent in 1974 and pursued a PhD in microbiology at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium, during the course of which he co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976.
He was Senior Fellow in the Division of Infectious
Diseases and Department of Microbiology,
Working with colleagues during this time he documented heterosexual transmission of HIV, the genetic diversity of HIV and its links with chimpanzee viruses, the interaction between HIV and TB, and also developed interventions against HIV in high risk populations.
He took up the role of
Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of
Nairobi, Kenya, in 1986, before becoming Director of the World Health
Organisation Centre on AIDS and the National AIDS Reference Centre at
During this time he pioneered a series of
collaborative projects in
In 1992 Piot became Associate Director of the WHO's Global Programme on AIDS. From 1995 to 2008, he was Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, and helped to build a broad international coalition against the AIDS epidemic, placing AIDS firmly on the world’s agenda. Peter Piot's work has brought together UN agencies with international development agencies, foundations, civil society, business and political leaders, including numerous heads of state.
He was responsible for organising the first ever sessions to be dedicated to a health issue at the UN Security Council in 2000 and the UN General Assembly in 2001, both regarded as turning points in the global response to AIDS.
He was named a Baron by King Albert II of
In 2008 he received (together with Mark Dybul) the Mother Teresa Prize as recognition for his work to combat AIDS and for spreading knowledge about this disease.
Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint Programme of the United Nations on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), addresses the one-day General Assembly high-level meeting convened to review progress towards meeting targets set during the 2001UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS, 2 June 2005. (UN Photo 77305, Evan Schneider)
Peter Piot, Executive
Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, addresses the
opening of the seventeenth international conference on AIDS, with a focus on
the universal action now,