Institution: University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences-Clinical Trials Research Centre (UZCHS-CTRC)
Country of work: Zimbabwe
What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?
I am greatly motivated to become an HIV cure advocate because my community work, training and experience spanning 15 years revolves around HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. My exposure with one of the first organizations to step up to care and support PLHIV in Harare was a game changer. I familiarized with the stigma, discrimination, side effects and comorbidities associated with HIV/AIDS. The continuing loss of friends and relatives owing to drug resistance strengthens me in the fight against HIV and AIDS and the desire to see development of a sterilizing HIV cure motivates me to be on the battlefront.
What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?
I am currently an Executive Committee member with AIDS Clinical Trials Group (a leading HIV treatment research organ), Forum for Collaborative Research under the University of California, Berkeley where I provide community input and foster clinical research ethics. I am a community advisor for treatment and prevention research under University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences-Clinical Trials Research Centre (UZCHS-CTRC), and a PrEP advocate for sex workers in Zimbabwe under the Centre for Sexual Health HIV/AIDS Research (CeSHHAR). I am a community mobiliser/facilitator of HIV peer education workshops. I am also a consultant with a grassroots community development consultancy promoting community engagement and strategic partnerships in HIV/AIDS projects and pioneer of a district level social network platform to educate on HIV treatment and prevention research in collaboration with National AIDS Council decentralized structure.
How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?
The knowledge from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will add value to my work by providing access to novel cure related information that I will cascade to existing community structures such as community stakeholder-engagement platforms. The ability to influence policy makers towards HIV cure research will be a direct dividend of the knowledge gained. The knowledge gained will assist in designing cure focused community agendas that will brace community and set the pace in preparation for cure research coming to the region. The lessons will help in allaying myths and misconceptions associated with treatment interruption in HIV cure research.