Preparing a generation of cure advocates to fight for research
The Cure Academy links leading researchers with advocates to share the latest on HIV cure strategies and support advocates in developing advocacy agendas and preparing their communities for cure trials.
The World Needs an HIV Cure, and Cure Research Needs Advocates
More than a hundred clinical trials with thousands of participants are underway. A growing number of these trials are taking place in the global south, but advocacy involvement is far too limited. Informed and strategic advocacy engagement is essential to accelerate research, particularly Africa-led research where the majority of the burden is carried.
An effective cure will reduce new infections, neutralize stigma and discrimination, contribute to the end of the epidemic and provide hope to millions of people living with HIV. But cure research is highly complex and the trials to test possible solutions involve careful considerations that communities must understand.
Advocates play a fundamental role in shaping a research agenda that reflects community priorities and ensuring communities understand and support research.
About the Cure Academy
Co-hosted by AVAC and the International AIDS Society, The Advocacy-For-Cure Academy prepares a generation of cure advocates to fight effectively for research that matters to the people who are most impacted by HIV. Leading cure researchers and seasoned advocates explore current strategies under investigation and the implications for different populations. They consider the challenges in cure research, approaches to broad stakeholder engagement, and an advocacy agenda to accelerate the design, social acceptability, and rapid adoption of HIV-cure products.
- Provides training on current HIV cure research strategies, barriers to a cure, and skills for communicating scientific results accurately to communities that will most benefit from cure research.
- Supports the development of tools to broaden cure literacy to the wider community, including policy makers, the media and program managers.
- Creates opportunities to interact with leading researchers and advocates in the field with a view to expanding the network of advocates working in HIV cure.
The Academy takes place each November. Approximately two dozen participants are selected from a call for applications released by August. Accepted applicants are selected by years of professional experience, interest in cure research, ability to translate to their constituencies, and the relevancy of their reason for wanting to attend.
The Cure Fellowship
Up to five cure fellowships of $10,000 USD are competitively awarded to alumni participants of the Academy. The fellowship supports the development of a project that meets one of the following criteria:
- Advocacy program to build support for HIV cure research in-country;
- Strengthens networks and tools for cure advocacy in local contexts;
- Develop and provide HIV cure education and information for clients, advocates and healthcare providers
Since 2017, 120 advocates have participated in five Academies. The majority represent communities across Africa that are most burdened by HIV. These advocates have gone on to serve on community advisory boards, consult with major research and pharmaceutical entities, and serve as prominent guest speakers at major scientific convenings.
Back in their communities, these advocates have created programs, resources and in-country trainings to help people understand cure research. They make the science accessible and promote community support for accelerated research in their local context. And, last but not least, they identify and inspire future Academy participants, growing the field of cure advocates.
For more information on this program, reach out Jessica Salzwedel at email@example.com.