2019 Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Pascal Akahome

Nationality: Nigeria
Institution: Antiretroviral Improved Access Initiative
Country of work: Nigeria

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

As a primary care provider working directly with people living with HIV in a resource limited setting, my motivation to work in this field stems from my desire to be involved in the modalities to develop a solution to the HIV epidemic, that takes into account the peculiar situation of people living with HIV in diverse settings including issues surrounding; accessibility, cost as well as convenience of accessing therapy.

In addition, there is the need to a global perspective into local issues as related to cure research and development of policy around this topic.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

I founded AIAI as a response to the growing trend of people living with HIV, previously on treatment, being lost to follow up on antiretroviral therapy.

Our approach as an organization involves building a network of people living with HIV, where we engage community participation to provide psychosocial support and counselling to members, encouraging them to stick to therapy and care.

Through this method, we are able to reach those most at risk of being lost to follow up, and ensure they are retained on treatment.

How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?

The knowledge and tools gained at the academy will equip me with the required skills to engage with my core network of young people living with HIV in my community, to help them understand issues surrounding research as it affects HIV cure, and its direct impact on the lives of people in the community.

In addition, the fellowship will provide a unique opportunity for me to interact with researchers and advocates in the field of HIV cure, and will serve as a veritable platform to enhance my skills in advocacy and activism as it relates to HIV cure research, especially ethical engagement of young people living with HIV in research.