2019 Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Ulanda Chilezi

Nationality: Malawi
Institution: Ulanda Regina Chilezi
Country of work: Malawi

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

I dedicate my time advocating for expanded HIV prevention options for Women. My 12 years of experience, has been focusing on the promotion of sexual and reproductive health for young women, and I have put more effort into every possible preventive and curative options available and in the pipeline. My passion in HIV advocacy is to work with other advocates to fight the pandemic that has heavily affected my family, community and my nation. The Advocacy for Cure Fellowship is a unique opportunity to further pursue my keen interest on issues relating to HIV research and advocacy to end AIDS.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

I am a 2018 AVAC Advocacy Fellow, who is advocating for increasing women controlled HIV prevention option such as PrEP and Dapivirine vaginal ring, my passion is on adolescent girls and young women. My current work involves around working with various research institutions in Malawi who are conducting HIV prevention clinical trials such as Microbicide (Dapivirine Ring), Vaccines, Antibody Mediated Prevention and Broadly Neutralizing HIV-1 Antibodies. I am currently involved in building the capacity of Civil society organization to ensure that civil society organizations and young women stay updated, informed and involved in discussions around HIV prevention research so that they are better able to engage and influence the research agenda for Malawi.

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

I believe that the knowledge and skills I will learn, will empower me to develop a strong advocacy work and understand HIV cure research, thereby broadening my advocacy work to HIV cure. This fellowship will also help me to mobilize more community advocates in strengthening advocacy for HIV cure and ensuring an HIV free generation. Finally, the Cure academy will help me to have evidence-based advocacy, which I can use in the cure research advocacy in my country.