Organization: Bar Hostess Empowerment & Support Programme (BHESP)
Interests & expertise: COVID-19 and HIV
Profession or occupation: Advocate/activist
What inspires you to work in the HIV field?
My inspiration is a healthy society. This is a society where everyone's human rights are respected and not violated, where access to care is upheld through creation of a stigma-free society for all, including adolescents, young girls and key populations. I am inspired to be part of the journey of HIV reduction through advocacy to reduce new HIV acquisitions and to include communities in policy formation. This will improve outcomes of service delivery to key populations, which are our brothers and sisters. So, quality service uptake for them equals a healthy society for all.
As a sex worker openly living with HIV, I'm inspired to work and bring change for the community of sex workers living with HIV with whom I identify to improve our health outcomes. As a health rights activist, I believe that most treatment outcomes are based on the quality of service delivery offered by healthcare providers to our clients. I am able to combine both those aspects and be a part of this great journey of change making by acting as an example to my healthcare providers to change their attitude and offer stigma-free services to everyone, including key populations, for improved health outcomes.
What are your goals as an IAS change maker?
As a health rights activist, my goals as a change maker are to: advocate for quality healthcare service delivery and uptake by key populations; work with others within the health sector to reduce stigma and discrimination towards key populations, which hinders service uptake; create awareness among my healthcare providers that reduction of new HIV acquisitions and access to HIV care and management all starts and stops with us and that our attitude in service delivery industry plays a key role in HIV management and prevention; and interact with scientists and others worldwide to learn and interact about an HIV cure and management.
As an IAS change maker, my goal is to reduce stigma in our healthcare systems and improve service uptake and delivery to key populations, especially the female sex worker community. It will delight my soul to see the community I identify with able to receive services without fear of discrimination, to see people living with HIV able to achieve viral suppression and improved health outcomes observed from all service delivery points and new skills developed in offering person-centred care models.