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Reuben Silungwe

Reuben Silungwe

Organization: Queen Mary University of London

Region: Africa

Nationality: Zambia

Country: Zambia

Interests & expertise: Community leadership

Profession or occupation: Advocate/activist

What inspires you to work in the HIV field?

I have witnessed people close to me die of AIDS-related causes and I have a close family member living with HIV. Being a member of a key population, I believe I do understand what it means to face multiple stigma and discrimination and its impact on the access and utilization of healthcare in hostile settings despite the steady engagement of key populations. Structural issues remain problematic and must be challenged. The quality of care and client-informed support makes a difference in the response in addressing the gaps in HIV treatment, care and support. I believe there is no meaningful response to HIV without an HIV cure agenda that takes into account the community and low-income countries and their role in the HIV and AIDS response.

What are your goals as an IAS change maker?

My goal is to see communities most affected by HIV and AIDS meaningfully engaged and consulted on issues about them in the national, regional and global responses to HIV and AIDS. We may not be clinical experts in the treatment of HIV in medical terms. But being disproportionately affected by HIV makes us co-experts in finding better interventions in changing the course of HIV and AIDS, as well as ending the epidemic. Research has contributed to the understanding HIV and AIDS, but there is still a need to engage researchers from previously underrepresented groups, such as key populations, and investing in infrastructure that includes us in the research agenda.

The IAS promotes the use of non-stigmatizing, people-first language. The translations are all automated in the interest of making our content as widely accessible as possible. Regretfully, they may not always adhere to the people-first language of the original version.