February 29, 2012
AVAC’s HIV Prevention Research Advocacy Fellows gathered for an orientation and wrap-up session in Kampala at the end of January. Fellows from 2010, 2011 and eight new fellows from 2012 together with their host organization supervisors gathered in Kampala, Uganda, to take stock of recent accomplishments, plans for the future and take steps to forge an African movement to end the AIDS epidemic. The three-day meeting included debates and discussions about how to prioritize prevention strategies that are available today, such as treatment as prevention and voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), and explorations of the agenda for emerging strategies such as PrEP and microbicides and hoped-for interventions like an effective AIDS vaccine. One highlight was an intensive afternoon session on the potential for influencing the Country Operating Plans that guide the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). These “COPs” can be used to leverage additional resources for the pillars of combination prevention—ARV treatment, VMMC and prevention of pediatric infection. In the coming months, advocates will be participating in intensive country-level campaigns.