Samuel Kalibala has worked on issues regarding HIV and AIDS as a medical doctor and researcher since the onset of the epidemic in the 1980s. As a doctor in Uganda, he managed some of the first acute cases of HIV and AIDS in the region. He was among the first to identify the need for counseling and support as a key component of HIV testing and clinical care. Kalibala developed the HIV counseling intervention for the World Health Organization, and conducted a multi-site efficacy study of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) for UNAIDS. His work led to global policies promoting VCT as a preventative intervention. He has also served as the principal investigator on research studying drug delivery, drug adherence, and psychosocial HIV interventions for young people.
Kalibala worked for the Population Council from 1998 to 2003 as one of the principal investigators on the USAID-funded Horizons program, where he piloted some of the first prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs, which later resulted in the scale-up of PMTCT to country and regional levels. He returned to the Council in 2008 as the country director for Kenya, where he oversaw the development and evaluation of interventions to improve pediatric HIV treatment, support for orphans and vulnerable children, community-based HIV interventions, and HIV care, support, and palliative care. Kalibala currently directs HIV Core, a multi-country, multi-year effort to improve the efficiency, efficacy, and quality of antiretroviral therapy and PMTCT programs.
Kalibala built the Namulaba Health Centre on his farm in the Mukono district in Uganda, which uses public funds to provide free primary health care and HIV counseling and testing. He is on the editorial board of the African Journal of AIDS Research and is a reviewer of articles for other public health journals. He received his MD from Makerere University in Uganda in 1984.