What got you involved in the AIDS movement?
Inequalities got me involved in the AIDS movement. Women's Agency and Sexual Minorities got me involved in the AIDS movement, and lastly, people got me involved in the AIDS movement.
What is an example of advocacy work you have engaged in recently? Is there a particular tactic or approach you have used in advocacy that you could share?
My advocacy has been based on the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Strategy and especially around the prevention and stigma and discrimination agenda. First is the use of dialogue, in ensuring that people know, understand and are engaged with the Strategy. Countries seem to have adopted the first segment of the Strategy, which focuses on the 90-90-90 targets of incidence, treatment and suppressing viral load. It is clear that the prevention agenda needs to be strengthened.
In South Africa, the Department of Health is taking bold leadership in ensuring that we re-focus the agenda by being part of the discussion that Access Chapter 2 is leading. The UNAIDS Country Office is providing technical support for this and the SANAC Civil Society Forum made up of many sectors have also engaged in the 90-90-90 Strategy conversation and integration.
This approach is used to advocate at various levels of our National AIDS Council, led by the Deputy President of the Republic H.E Cyril Ramaphosa and myself representing many civil society sectors and community groups. The results are seen through our Strategic Plan and through changes in programming that puts more attention on prevention, addressing social and structural barriers, human rights and access to justice. It is clear that South Africa is taking leadership in the global discourse and will continue to do so.
From your perspective, what are the top priorities for advocacy to advance an accelerated, more equitable response to AIDS?
The top priority is meaningful involvement of all people in our diversity, however we need to ensure that the "Getting to zero" agenda is not lost. We should fast track the approach of zero infections. Prevention and addressing stigma and discrimination remain the core to ensuring a more equitable response.
If you were speaking to a young advocate interested in AIDS, what would you advise her about how to be effective?
Access Chapter 2 has established a project led by young women themselves called Girls Chapter Ambassadors, which aims to build resilience amongst adolescent girls and young women. To address any issue, my message is simple -- gather information and evidence, mobilise people, empower them and build masses for advocacy. Passion is critical in addressing issues for impact and results. The struggle continues!!