Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Kenneth Mwehonge

Nationality: Uganda
Institution: Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS Uganda)
Country of work: Uganda

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

An HIV free generation puzzle is incomplete without an HIV cure. More than ever, there is growing evidence that a cure is possible. The AIDS response has come a long way, from a death sentence to now a manageable and preventable disease. Despite availability of HIV treatment and prevention tools, we continue to lose 1 million lives annually due to lack of access, poor adherence and sporadic stock outs of life long treatment in many parts of the world. To me, an HIV cure is the magic bullet to the zero death target and this is my greatest inspiration.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

My area of work in HIV is policy advocacy for prevention and access to treatment. My routine duties involve reviewing and analyzing polices being formulated and leading advocacy campaigns to ensure they are consumer friendly. I represent CSOs on a number of platforms, i.e. UNAIDS Global HIV Prevention Coalition that is fast tracking primary HIV prevention where I coordinate CSO initiatives to strengthen and sustain political commitment for prevention. I am CSO representative to the National Prevention Committee at the Uganda AIDS Commission that oversees strategic implementation of all prevention activities in the country, and CSO representative in USAID PEPFAR Country Operational Plan development consultations and monitoring its implementation. I also coordinate a CSO movement that spearheads advocacy campaigns to increase access to ARVs and viral load monitoring in Uganda.

How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?

Given the various representations I serve, I will use the knowledge gained from the cure advocacy to consolidate the cure research advocacy agenda at the national and international level. Like we have done for HIV prevention research and roll out advocacy in the previous 4 years, I will introduce HIV cure research advocacy into our on-going HIV research advocacy networks and I will also interest fellow advocates within the coalitions I coordinate, and local media in HIV cure research.