Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Joanes Toulac Jang

Nationality: Cameroon
Institution: Child Aid Development Foundation International (CADFIN)
Country of work: Cameroon

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

With over 10 years working in HIV prevention, I realized I am very weak in the HIV advocacy for cure field. Research and policy guides for HIV/AIDS prevention are constantly changing as medicine evolves. As a community level advocate, I face many challenges advocating for the implementation of these new polices and research findings. A training in HIV cure will go a long way to improve my knowledge on holistic HIV prevention and management options. It will also help develop my operational research ability in HIV cure, and improve and reinforce my advocacy and community engagement skills.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

  • Holding focus group discussions with community members to better understand, gather evidence about issues faced by PLHIV and engage them in finding solutions;
  • Holding monthly meetings between the community and the management of the Treatment Centre, including the health workers, most especially those that had shown negative attitudes. During this meeting, community members denounced the workers’ attitudes and spoke about the harmful impact of stigma and discrimination on the lives of PLHIV;
  • Recruitment and training of Mentor Mothers who are themselves HIV positive and link to health facilities to support pregnant women and HIV exposed children;
  • Advocacy to scale up HIV prevention, treatment and care services through income generation activities at local level.

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

Knowledge learn will influence my work in the following ways:

  • Strengthen my understanding of the latest HIV cure research;
  • Improved knowledge and skills building on current HIV cure research strategies;
  • Improved skills in communicating scientific results from HIV cure and other research accurately, especially to families and communities
  • Increased opportunities to interact with leading researchers and advocates in the field with a view to expanding the network of advocates working in HIV cure in Africa;
  • Improved knowledge on how to help patients to combat poor adherence by exploring their fears about HIV and the impact of disclosing their HIV status with people in their immediate social circles.