Prof Leickness Chisamu Simbayi (Acting CEO)

Prof Leickness Simbayi has been the acting chief executive officer of the HSRC since 1 April 2021.

He holds a BSc (Biology & Psychology) from the University of Zambia (1979), an MSc (Psychology) specialising in comparative and physiological psychology from the University of Utah in the USA (1982), and a DPhil (Experimental Psychology) from Sussex University in the United Kingdom (1986).

Simbayi is an honorary professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town. He is rated as a C1 researcher by the National Research Foundation of South Africa and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

During the past two decades at the HSRC, most of his research was on the social aspects of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. In particular, his research has focused on second-generation HIV surveillance (especially using biobehavioural surveys), HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, orphans and vulnerable children, and the determinants of HIV infection (such as poverty, alcohol and drug use, gender-based violence, sex in the presence of blood, multiple sexual partnerships, and male circumcision). He has also looked at theory-based HIV social and behavioural risk reduction interventions, including positive prevention targeting people living with HIV/AIDS who are aware of their status. Since the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, he has also been undertaking biobehavioural survey research on the national seroprevalence of COVID-19 antibodies.