John is the technical lead on HIV and specifically PrEP, at TBHIV Care. He’s involved in preparing new sites for the introduction of PrEP among adolescent girls and young women and preparing advocacy training for PrEP champions at PrEP implementation sites. He is a community engagement specialist whose experience spans 25 years. He has worked cross-culturally, advocating for the active engagement of communities in HIV prevention research and implementation and has developed and managed community engagement programs at clinical trial sites in six countries in eastern and southern Africa.
John pushed for extended PrEP guidelines that include all people at substantial risk of HIV infection in South Africa and for increased access to PrEP. He also worked with PrEP advocates, civil society and clinical trialists to prepare for the results of the microbicide vaginal ring trials, ASPIRE and the Ring Study. His advocacy influenced the Medicines Control Council’s approval of the use of Truvada for PrEP in November 2015. In addition, he was directly involved in the development of the national oral PrEP and test and treat guidelines and accompanying policy. He also did extensive preparatory work in anticipation of the possible rollout of the dapivirine vaginal ring.
In Their Own Words
There’s a need in South Africa for PrEP awareness among individuals and institutions with decision-making authority, and particularly for key populations.
My Work as a Fellow
- Petition for approval of PrEP: This petition, calling the South African Medicines Control Council to approve PrEP for all individuals at substantial risk of HIV in South Africa, was developed and led by John Mutsambi and other civil society advocates in South Africa.
- Blog post: John published the blog “In Their Own Voices: South Africans at high risk of HIV Infection demand access to PrEP” on AVAC’s P-Values Blog, in which he amplified the increasing voices demanding for PrEP in South Africa. He also mapped steps to get there.
- Give us ARVs so we don’t get HIV: This is an op-ed authored by John Mutsambi together with South African advocates in the Mail & Guardian in November 2015 calling on the South Africa government to make the bold step of rolling out PrEP among specific population groups that are substantial risk of HIV acquisition—such as young women and girls, sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), discordant couples, truckers and people who inject drugs.
- PrEP FAQ: John developed this PrEP frequently asked questions document to be a living tool to document and help answer questions about PrEP that he heard throughout his engagements with communities.
- Project poster: This poster is a single-page summary of John’s project that he presented at the end of his Fellowship.
- Advocates statement on dapivirine ring results: This is a response by South African civil society, including John, to the microbicides dapivirine ring results that were released at CROI 2016.
- Fellowship summary report: “An enriching immersion into HIV prevention advocacy” is a summary of John’s experience and activities during the Fellowship.
Get in Touch
If you have any questions about the Fellows Program, or would like to reach out to a Fellow (current or alumni), e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.