2019 Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Mandisa Nikita Dukashe

Nationality: South Africa
Institution: HIV Survivors and Partners Network
Country of work: South Africa

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

There is a lot of unclear discussions about HIV cure with not much known in South Africa. Sometimes it is very difficult to say anything and advocate for the cure with no facts. I personally need the information, know the science as the latter will motivate PLWHIV community to hang on to their treatment with the hope that someday they will be cured. Being part of the course will give me first-hand information, facts and details so that I can work with South African based civil society and other HIV led organization to push the HIV cure agenda forward.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

There is no policy in South Africa on Partner notification and Safer conception for discordant partners. The group could not practice their right to sexual reproductive health due to fear of infecting their partners and unborn babies. The purpose of the advocacy was mainly to encourage women with HIV to disclose their status to their partner in order to get their full support and be able to work together towards safe conception. We also sensitized the government on how discriminating HIV and SRH policies are towards this group. I worked together with a number of churches sharing my family story and featured in the UNAIDS 2018 annual report as a family (in discordant marriage with negative babies).

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

I am currently doing Masters in Public Health but took a break for a year due to personal problems. I will definitely modify my research topic and objectives. Information gained and tools will assist me to re-frame my focus and the objectives will integrate some of the information gained in the academy. I also do online treatment advocacy and HIV service demand creation and since so many people hear about the cure on TV’s but do not have anyone to ask further, I will be there to answer those questions.