2019 Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Bagaya Monica

Nationality: Uganda
Institution: Infectious Diseases Institute
Country of work: Uganda

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

My initial interest in HIV cure was built while working in fishing communities around Lake Victoria with UVRI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Program as a community engagement officer. I noticed challenges fisher folks faced while taking ART as often times some had to miss out on their refills due to their irregular work schedules that permitted them to travel long distances away from the health facilities in search for fish. Others had to delay ART initiation due to HIV stigma that still exist within these communities including loss of financial benefits (inability to get loans or business opportunities). I have since longed to be part of HIV cure research and advocacy hoping that one day there will be an ultimate comprehensive solution to end the HIV epidemic without leaving any one behind.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

I work as community engagement officer with Infectious Diseases Institute, Uganda, where I support recruitment, retention and stakeholder engagement for research studies on PrEP. I also lead efforts of engaging stakeholders through; Community Advisory Group (CAG) meetings, peer consultation meetings and PrEP Technical Working Group (TWG) meetings to; update them on the progress of the research protocols implemented by the site, solicit feedback pertaining our research programmes and disseminate research findings.

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

Attending the 2019 Advocacy-for-Cure Academy, and learning from well-established experts in the field, will enable me obtain much needed training in HIV cure advocacy and community engagement skills. With these skills and knowledge, I will be in position to effectively disseminate scientific findings especially those of HIV cure research to communities appropriately without exciting them.