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Meet the 2017 AVAC Advocacy Fellows

AVAC is delighted to announce the 2017 AVAC Advocacy Fellows—the eighth class of Fellows! Please join us in congratulating these seven talented advocates. With this incoming class, the AVAC Fellows family has grown to fifty-seven! We hope you’ll find ways to collaborate with the new Fellows in 2017 and beyond.

The 2017 Advocacy Fellows are:

Grace Kumwenda photo

Grace Kumwenda

Pakachere Institute for Health and Development Communication (IHDC)

Why I want to advocate for HIV prevention:
HIV prevalence among female sex workers in Malawi is extremely high. Whilst there are many programs contributing to the UN 2020 goals known as 90-90-90, achieving results on retention in treatment and viral load suppression remains a challenge. Very few people understand treatment monitoring as a key part of achieving the third 90. Advocating for increased efforts and allocation of resources towards treatment monitoring by government and key stakeholders is a critical first step. This needs to be complemented by treatment literacy for people living with HIV. Learn more about Grace.

Thuthukile Mbatha photo

Thuthukile Mbatha

Section 27

Why I want to advocate for HIV prevention:
Universities are comprised of a variety of key population groups (such as young people, young black women, men who have sex with men and sex workers). They have increased exposure to HIV. South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province has one of the highest HIV rates on the globe. In order to curb the number of HIV infections we need to consider providing more alternatives to HIV prevention methods. Learn more about Thuthukile.

Peter Mogere photo

Peter Mogere

Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Partners in Health Research & Development (PHRD)

Why I want to advocate for HIV prevention:
In 2012, over half (53 percent) of people living with HIV did not know their HIV status because they had never been tested or had not received their test results. HIV self-testing has the potential to increase first-time and repeat testing for HIV, which is essential to the delivery of PrEP. Reaching those first-time testers is also instrumental to achieve the UN goal to test 90 percent HIV cases by 2020. My advocacy on HIV prevention will be focused on ensuring the HIV self-testing strategy is adopted and that necessary policies are developed by key government institutions. Learn more about Peter.

Nikki Mtetwa photo

Sinikwe "Nikki" Mtetwa

The Center for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research - Zimbabwe (CeSHHAR Zimbabwe)

Why I want to advocate for HIV prevention:
The main reason I am driven to work on HIV prevention advocacy in 2017 is to sensitize the public and raise awareness of the availability of different types of HIV prevention in Zimbabwe. Condoms have been the most high-profile method of prevention and it is time that key populations, especially sex workers, are made aware of other measures such as PrEP. It is time for sex workers to have the full knowledge of PrEP—what it is, how it works, who it’s for and how to access it. It is also time for our service providers to see things from a different perspective and be sensitized to a public health approach in serving sex workers. Learn more about Nikki.

Kennedy Mupeli photo

Kennedy Mupeli

Center for Youth of Hope

Why I want to advocate for HIV prevention:
No more time for rhetoric! Trials have shown that rates of HIV are reduced when people not living with HIV take PrEP. PrEP has definitely ushered in an innovative and effective intervention into the HIV prevention toolbox. That’s the reason I seek and advocate for a robust integration of PrEP intervention into existing mainstream HIV-prevention strategies for most-at-risk populations in Botswana. My advocacy project will target programs serving key populations such as sex workers, the LGBTI community, youth, HIV testing organizations, women’s organizations and people living with HIV. Learn more about Kennedy.

Moses Supercharger photo

Moses "Supercharger" Nsubuga

People in Need Agency

Why I want to advocate for HIV prevention:
I want to change the trend of treatment. Because of poor adherence interventions, some folks are struggling with HIV drug resistance, failing second line and not able to access third line treatment. The most recent draft of the Uganda guidelines has a provision for third-line treatment. Now we need to ensure that these recommendations are translated into reality. I also want to see full participation of community advocates in HIV cure research, especially in Uganda where a trial is ongoing. Learn more about Moses.

Bathabile Nyathi photo

Bathabile Nyathi

The Center for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research - Zimbabwe (CeSHHAR Zimbabwe)

Why I want to advocate for HIV prevention:
I started selling sex as an adolescent. I have since observed that when young women and adolescent girls begin to sell sex most of them initially are HIV negative. However, within 5 years they become HIV positive. It is my desire to advocate for HIV prevention and I really believe that PrEP would reduce the spread of HIV among adolescent girls, young women and sex workers. Learn more about Bathabile.