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Mercy Mutonyi

Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) - 2019 Fellow

Mercy is a young advocate with over five years of experience in HIV prevention programming, working with female sex workers and vulnerable young women in Kenya. She was a co-investigator and lead PrEP ambassador in the IPCP-Kenya PrEP demonstration pilot. She was also the project manager of DREAMS Innovation Challenge at BHESP, aimed at promoting HIV prevention services uptake among adolescent girls and young women in Kenya. Mercy participated in the development of PrEP and HIV self-test guidelines in Kenya. Currently, she is a member of three technical working groups: HIV testing; Key Populations; and National PrEP where governmental decisions on HIV programming are made. Mercy is a nurse, a trainer of trainees, a PrEP champion and an advocate of human rights. Last year, she was a runner-up for the Omololu Falobi Award for Excellence in HIV Community Advocacy.

Why I Want to Advocate for HIV Prevention in 2019, and What I Plan to Do
Kenya has made progressive efforts towards ending its HIV epidemic; however, many of its key populations are still most burdened by HIV. I would like to see the implementation of ethical assisted partner notification services (APNS) among sex workers, as part of Kenya’s shift to index testing. To achieve this, I will identify barriers to APNS for sex workers, ensure guidelines address such barriers, and continue the struggle for decriminalization of sex work while also coordinating civil society to continue support for prevention research.

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If you have any questions about the Fellows Program, or would like to reach out to a Fellow (current or alumni), e-mail us at fellows@avac.org.