Neliswa is a community advocate. She comes from the Eastern Cape Province where she became involved in politics in high school, as president of the student movement. Eastern Cape was marginalized in terms of job opportunities, so she moved to Cape Town, seeking work during a time of heightened struggle against the HIV epidemic. She joined TAC after listening to their volunteers at a clinic. She was touched when hearing about the statistics of people who had died because of HIV-related illnesses with no interventions from the state.
Neliswa tapped the Treatment Action Campaign’s national network to spread the word about PrEP, creating demand among young women with the ultimate goal of PrEP provision in all public health facilities. She also worked with young women, preparing them for new HIV prevention options such as the dapivirine ring, long-acting injectables and multi-prevention technologies.
In Their Own Words
Advocacy for comprehensive HIV prevention services for the young adolescents, ages 10-17, is still a hard area, especially coupled withThe level of engagement from young women on PrEP is amazing; they are asking questions about PrEP, such as its availability and why the government is taking so long to give young girls access to PrEP. Uptake of PrEP has been increased, and we are starting to see a demand for it, even from male partners. Discussions with young women about PrEP are helping to identify gaps and inform policy. Young women feel strongly to speak out against such gaps.