Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Lilian Benjamin Mwakyosi

Nationality: Tanzania, United Republic of
Institution: Tanzania Youth Alliance - TAYOA
Country of work: Tanzania, United Republic of

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

Living in a setting where approximately 200 people are infected with HIV every day leaves me restless, that something should work, something should be done, and it surely starts with me as a young advocate. I live to witness the first ever generation free of AIDS in my lifetime which intrigues me to put more effort into every possible preventive and curative options available. It is essential to advocate for cure research in order to attain the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

I currently serve as an AVAC FELLOW 2018, primarily focusing on PrEP and HIV self-test for young people in Tanzania. I am focusing on advocating for HIV self-test and PrEP accessibility and availability for adolescent girls and young women in my community without leaving behind their sexual partners. HIV self-test and PrEP will respectively increase the number of people who know their HIV status, and reduce chances of new HIV infections in the whole community at large. I am convinced that as much as multiple preventive options are crucial for effective HIV prevention, it is still not enough; a cure is still needed to maximize this effectiveness and this is what primarily pushes me to seek this opportunity to learn more about HIV cure advocacy.

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

The knowledge attained in this Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will help me understand where we stand in terms of cure research advocacy in my country. I believe I will attain the necessary skills on how to invest in cure advocacy for the benefit of my community and as a growing advocate as well. I believe both cure and preventive research advocacy can go hand in hand to bring an efficient outcome in ending AIDS hence attending this conference will be a great advantage to my current advocacy.