Institution: Liberated Hearts Foundation
Country of work: Zambia
What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?
My greatest motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate comes from witnessing the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS on individuals and families. After losing my parents, two brothers, a sister and my daughter to AIDS and discovering I was infected with HIV, heightened my motivation to be an HIV cure advocate. For me to make a meaningful and significant impact, it is imperative that I acquire and hone the necessary advocacy skills and knowledge. Being an HIV cure advocate is an amazing opportunity to advance my advocacy work and make a difference in my country and the world.
What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?
Zambia has witnessed an increased number of sexual violence cases against women and girls in recent years. This puts them at risk of acquiring HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. My work includes advocating for timely administration of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to girls who are sexually abused. I am doing this by conducting interactive community and school dialogues, television and radio programmes to raise awareness on the benefits of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and encouraging a girl or woman as well as guardians of a child who has been sexually assaulted to access Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) within 3 days from the nearest heath facility. By administering Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in time, the chances of being infected with HIV are greatly reduced.
How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?
As an HIV advocate, the knowledge I will acquire from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will enable me to develop better and strategic advocacy work. I will gain more knowledge about advocacy especially in areas that I am not familiar with, which will widen my scope in advocacy work. Furthermore, I will acquire advanced knowledge from Advocacy-for-Cure Academy facilitators, interact with other fellows, learn from each other and as a team, brainstorm and find solutions to the challenges that we face as HIV advocates. Lastly, networking will bring about new opportunities, which will advance my HIV advocacy work in Zambia.