Linda-Gail Bekker

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Linda-Gail Bekker
Fogarty-nih-50th-symposium-speaker-linda-gail-bekker (27774294837) (cropped).jpg
Bekker speaks at the John E. Fogarty International Center 50th anniversary symposium in 2018
Alma materUniversity of Cape Town
Rockefeller University
EmployerDesmond Tutu HIV Foundation
University of Cape Town
OrganizationInternational AIDS Society
Known forHIV/AIDS Research

Linda-Gail Bekker MBChB, DTMH, DCH, FCP(SA) is a Professor of Medicine and Chief Operating Officer of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. She is also Director of the Desmund Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town. She is President of the International AIDS Society.

Early life and education[edit]

Bekker was born in Zimbabwe.[1] She studied medicine at the University of Cape Town.[2] She intended on becoming a geriatrician, but completed a clinical rotation in KwaZulu-Natal and became interested in HIV and TB research.[3] She saw young people dying from HIV/AIDS and was frustrated that she couldn't help them.[4] Her PhD was funded by the John E. Fogarty International Center.[1] She worked in the Rockefeller University on host immunology.[1] Her doctoral advisor was Gilla Kaplan and she continues to work with her today.[5][4]

Research and career[edit]

In 2009 she won the Royal Society Pfizer Award for her research into tuberculosis epidemiology.[6][7] The funding supported her research in the Nyanga Primary Health Clinic in Cape Town.[7] Bekker is passionate about engagement with communities and peer led education programs.[8] Her community work looks to overcome stigma related to HIV and Tuberculosis.[9] The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, where Bekker serves as Chief Operating Officer, supports the wellbeing of people in South Africa's poorest communities.[10] Her husband, Robin Wood, serves as the Director and CEO.[11] She developed a mobile health van, known as the Tutu tester, which offers screening for pregnancy, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, TB and obesity.[12][9] She is Director of the Desmund Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town, where she integrates best practise and evidence-based information about adolescent treatment and prevention in a robust platform.[13] The centre is funded by the National Institutes of Health.[14] She developed Choices for Adolescent Methods of Prevention in South Africa (CHAMPS); which challenges young men's attitudes to circumcision, encourages young women to use contraception and investigates Pre-exposure prophylaxis.[15] She has also worked on Pregnancy and HIV/AIDS Seeking Equitable Study (PHASES) funded by the National Institutes of Health.[16] She studies the roll out of antiretroviral therapies.[17][18] She is excited about HIV self-testing.[19]

In 2016 she was elected President of the International AIDS Society.[20] She gave the opening address at the International AIDS Society Conference in Paris, where she spoke about new prevention options such as Pre-exposure prophylaxis.[21] In 2018 she was elected to the board of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.[13] She is concerned about Donald Trump undermining the global HIV response.[22][23] She is an editor of the African Journal of AIDS Research.[24] She has been a keynote speaker at World AIDS Day.[25]

She has contributed to The Conversation.[26][27][28][29] Bekker enjoys painting and has used street theatre in her community work.[9]

Bekker serves as an advisor to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.[30]


  1. ^ a b c "Q and A with former Fogarty trainee Dr Linda-Gail Bekker". FIc. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  2. ^ "The NS Interview: Linda-Gail Bekker". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  3. ^ "Vax Report - Vax Report". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  4. ^ a b "PHRI :: Gilla Kaplan, Ph.D." Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  5. ^ "Gilla Kaplan". Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  6. ^ "South Africa: Linda-Gail Bekker Scoops Award for TB/HIV". Health-e (Cape Town). 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  7. ^ a b "African scientist wins award for HIV and TB co-infection research - Science News". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  8. ^ "Professor Linda-Gail Bekker MBChB DTMH DCH FCP(SA) PhD | Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  9. ^ a b c "Linda-Gail Bekker: confronting the TB/HIV co-infection epidemic" (PDF). The Lancet. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  10. ^ "Linda-Gail Bekker". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  11. ^ "Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation | Background". Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  12. ^ "FABA (For Africa By Africans: Tutu Tester | Africa Strictly Business". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  13. ^ a b User, Super. "Board of Directors". IAVI - International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  14. ^ "Plenary Sessions - HIVR4P 2018". HIVR4P 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  15. ^ "CHAMPS". AVAC. 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  16. ^ "Team". PHASES: Pregnancy & HIV/AIDS: Seeking Equitable Study. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  17. ^ "Conference Committees". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  18. ^ Bekker, L.-G.; Wood, R. (2011-11-01). "TB and HIV co-infection: When to start antiretroviral therapy". Continuing Medical Education. 29 (10): 420. ISSN 2078-5143.
  19. ^ "HIV Self-Test Granted CE Mark - Clinical Lab Products". Clinical Lab Products. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  20. ^ "Bekker, Linda-Gail - Virology Education". Virology Education. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  21. ^ "Professor Linda-Gail Bekker opens the International AIDS Symposium Conference | Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation". Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  22. ^ "Cutbacks in foreign aid for HIV treatment would produce great harm, generate few savings". Massachusetts General Hospital. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  23. ^ "More than 200 Scientists, Researchers and Clinicians including the co-discoverer of HIV Denounce Trump Administration Policies that Undermine the Global HIV Response". Health GAP (Global Access Project). Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  24. ^ "International Scholars Journals". Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  25. ^ Expresso Show (2017-12-04), World Aids Day – Linda-Gail Bekker, retrieved 2018-05-28
  26. ^ Bekker, Linda-Gail. "Three decades on, stigma still stymies HIV prevention and treatment". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  27. ^ Bekker, Linda-Gail. "Rings and things ... other ways to prevent HIV are on the cards". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  28. ^ Bekker, Linda-Gail. "Explainer: the how, what and why of the latest HIV vaccine trial". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  29. ^ Bekker, Linda-Gail. "AIDS conference 2016: the gains, the gaps, the next global steps". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  30. ^ "Southern Africa: Update On the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar)". United States Department of State (Washington, DC). 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2018-05-28.