2019 Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Leonarda Cleophace

Nationality: United Republic of Tanzania
Institution: Leonarda Cleophace
Country of work: United Republic of Tanzania

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

My motive for becoming an advocate for HIV cure are based on personal experience as young woman living with HIV for the past 32 years. Having suffered the cruel battle of AIDS for more than 18 years before access to ARV, it now gives me much eagerness and courage to see that there is a big break for my young stars of the world to become free of AIDS for those who are already infected and free of HIV for those who are still free.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

Currently I am engaged in advocating for the health of adolescents and youth living with HIV and AIDS to ensure that they access friendly and integrated health services that address their holistic needs including sexual and reproductive health, family planning and psychosocial support. I coordinate and facilitate capacity building for health care workers and peer educators to provide friendly services in the health facilities currently supported by the Elizabeth Glaser pediatric AIDS Foundation in my country. Other advocacies I am engaged in are at national level where I am among the technical working group member for adolescent services to ensure that all documents required for adolescent health are in place and therefore sensitize the government through ministry of health to advocate for adolescent health as a priority.

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

Since I am already engaged in HIV treatment initiatives, it will be very productive for me to transfer the knowledge gained in the academy to my daily work for improved outcomes. We are currently faced with high viral load among adolescents of 10 to 19 years, it is my hope therefore that I will gain much in the academy and find some more techniques for addressing this from project to country level if it works better.