Charles Brown

Charles is the Executive Director of Preventive Care International, an NGO he founded after his Fellow’s project, and still works on various PrEP efforts at his host organization, the Infectious Diseases Institute. At the time of his project, he had been associated with HIV clinical trials for more than seven years. He worked on the HSV2/HIV study, Partners PrEP study and the Partners Demonstration Project. His focus was on HIV counselling and testing and adherence support and community education for serodiscordant couples and key populations.

Fellowship Focus
Charles advocated for the rollout of PrEP with high-risk groups. He worked with Uganda’s AIDS Commission to include PrEP in its National Strategic Plan and laid the groundwork for the development of guidelines for PrEP rollout.

In Their Own Words
I’m happy that it’s no longer “Charles Brown for PrEP”, but it’s now civil society for PrEP, where I’m part of the civil society.

Charles’ Media Advocacy:

Definate Nhamo

Definate is currently working on dapivirine ring planning and introduction under the PROMISE consortium, funded by USAID. She has also been a lead on projects to roll out PrEP in Zimbabwe. Previously, through her work on the Shaping the Health of Adolescents in Zimbabwe (SHAZ!) Project, Definate developed extensive experience working with orphaned and vulnerable adolescent girls and young women living on the streets. She won the Young Women Investigator’s prize at the 2013 International AIDS Society Conference in Malaysia for her abstract on adolescents and gender-based violence.

Fellowship Focus
Definate advocated for comprehensive HIV prevention options for young women and for their integration into sexual and reproductive health programs in Zimbabwe. She documented the perspectives of young women that she used to inform the consolidated national guidelines. She also worked with researchers and civil society members to prepare for microbicide trial results and accelerate regulatory considerations once results were released, as well as to influence the rollout of PrEP in Zimbabwe.

Definate’s Media Advocacy

Eric Mcheka

Eric coordinates the multi-country COMPASS Project in Malawi. At the time of his Fellowship project, Eric had more than 12 years’ experience in development and communication, with a specific focus on HIV/AIDS and disability. This work included the development of the first ever television program on HIV-positive living, Tisawasale, targeting persons with hearing impairment. Later, Eric joined NAPHAM, where he was in charge of training, monitoring and evaluation and resource mobilization.

Fellowship Focus
Eric called attention to the need for accelerated scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in Malawi. He engaged key stakeholders in government, media and civil society to push for accelerated scale-up. In particular, he trained journalists, rallied civil society to prioritize VMMC advocacy in their work and engaged lawmakers to build demand for VMMC and ensure that it is incorporated into Malawi’s national HIV prevention strategy.

In Their Own Words
VMMC is a one-off, low cost procedure that needs to be brought to scale in Malawi, just like we did with PMTCT.

Eric’s Media Advocacy

Everlyne Ombati

Everlyn is the program coordinator for CBEC-KEMRI Bioethics Training Initiative (CKBTI), an NIH FIC funded bioethics training program established to create bioethics capacity in Kenya. She has extensive experience with biomedical research and regulatory issues through her work with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and has been involved in coordinating the process of reviewing and restructuring of the research regulatory system within KEMRI.

Fellowship Focus
Everlyn focused on advocacy for options designed to meet women’s multiple and diverse needs. She worked closely with Fellow Teresia Njoki to ensure that new HIV prevention options for women are part of the conversation in discussing Kenya’s future planning for prevention at the national and county levels. She built awareness around and prepared the ground for rollout of multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs). Once developed, these options will prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. She engaged three distinct levels of participants: community/end users, the research community/medical fraternity and regulators. Her project captured perceptions, knowledge and interest around MPTs in order to determine whether MPTs are a recognized need, explored what kind of products would be acceptable in Kenya and promoted awareness of MPTs. She also engaged regulators to discuss the ethical development of MPTs and the regulatory challenges faced in their introduction.

In Their Own Words
It is challenging to advocate for products like MPTs that aren’t available yet, so it’s important to be careful with the language we use to manage communities’ expectations. Also, these products must be introduced in a way that complements already existing products rather than one that alienates or stigmatizes them.

Everlyne’s Media Advocacy

New Pregnancy HIV Prevention Tools On The Way
Kenya: Deliver HIV Prevention Tools to Young Women

Poster – Raising awareness for microbicides and multipurpose prevention technologies in Kenya

Khanyisa Dunjwa

Khanyisa founded and currently leads PUPA, a grassroots organisation, and also sits on the Eastern Cape Provincial Council on AIDS. She worked as a peer educator on sexual health and rights and has advocated for disability rights. After joining the Networking HIV/AIDS Community of South Africa (NACOSA), she pursued her interests through leadership roles in the NGO sector and the Women’s Sector of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC).

Fellowship Focus
Khanyisa advocated for safer approaches to male circumcision in traditionally circumcising communities in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. She engaged local leaders and government officials in dialogues about safe male circumcision and piloted a program to educate adolescent boys about their options, safety during the traditional circumcision process and how to protect themselves from HIV. A key focus throughout her work was on involving women—especially mothers—in conversations about male circumcision to ensure their meaningful engagement. Khanyisa also frequently engaged with South African and international media to help spread accurate information about both traditional and medical male circumcision.

In Their Own Words
We need to mean it when we say we want to involve communities at the grassroots level. Policies are good, but when they fail, communities, women and girls bear the brunt.

Khanyisa’s Media Advocacy:

Teresia Njoki Otieno

Teresia currently works for the Center for Multicultural Health, a community-based organization in Seattle, where she provides direct services to African-Americans and African immigrants and refugees. She’s a member of the ATHENA Network, the Ryan White Planning Council and the US People Living with HIV Caucus steering committee. She is an accomplished advocate for HIV-positive women, with experience in counseling, testing and community engagement. She is living with HIV and in a discordant relationship. She has fought for the sexual and reproductive rights of women in Kenya and in international forums, and has worked with other women living with HIV to fight their forced and coerced sterilization.

Fellowship Focus
Teresia worked with discordant couples and sex workers to shape the PrEP agenda in Kenya by increasing their participation in HIV prevention forums and committees at the county and national levels. She worked closely with Fellow Everlyne Ombati to ensure that new HIV prevention options for women, including PrEP, are part of the conversation in discussing Kenya’s future planning for prevention. She documented perceptions of PrEP in the target communities and her advocacy informed the inclusion of PrEP in the Kenya National Strategic Plan. She also engaged in national and international discussions and influenced research to better understand the possible connection between hormonal contraceptive use and HIV risk. She has been directly involved in conversations before, during and after the ECHO trial.

In Their Own Words
We’ve seen major breakthroughs in HIV prevention, treatment and even cure research over the last several years. Science continues to deliver – now it’s time for us as advocates, service providers, governments and funders to effectively implement what’s been delivered to us as we work towards new possibilities for tomorrow.

Yvette Raphael

Yvette is a co-founder and co-director of Advocacy for Prevention of HIV and AIDS (APHA) in South Africa. She is a human rights activist with a focus on people living with HIV (PLHIV), young women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) communities. She became involved in HIV/AIDS advocacy after she was diagnosed with HIV in 2000. Since then, she has worked in HIV/AIDS education in the safety and security sector and founded two empowerment and support organizations for PLHIV. She has worked on award winning programs, including Brothers for Life, Scrutinize, Four Play, Intersexions and ZAZI.

Fellowship Focus
Yvette helped to empower young women in South Africa to demand HIV prevention interventions designed for them. She worked with the ZAZI training program to incorporate information about new prevention technologies and to mentor young prevention advocates. She also worked with the media to overcome “HIV fatigue” and promote accurate messages about prevention.

In Their Own Words
You’ll hear a lot of people say Depo is Africa’s most popular family planning method. But that’s not actually true. ‘Popular’ implies people choose Depo over other contraceptive options because they like it more… While DMPA is the most widely used long-acting method in many countries, including South Africa, the reality is that women are, every day, dependent on clinics where it is the only contraceptive choice on offer.