Godfrey Ochieng Okumu
Institution: Nyanza Initiative for Girls Education and Empowerment – NIGEE
Country of work: Kenya
What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?
As an HIV prevention advocate, I always believe that an HIV cure is possible. I want to be part of the team to push and advocate for the actualization of this dream. With over 10 years’ experience in VMMC and 3 years in PrEP and HIV vaccine trial, I strongly believe learning about HIV cure will be an added advantage and a big boost in my advocacy work. HIV cure is still a very new subject in Kenya and I really want to be part of the team to create awareness and demand for it.
What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?
I am an alumni AVAC Fellow, a new member of Africa Free of New HIV Infections (AfNHi) and IAS. I am currently involved in VMMC advocacy on domestic financing and awareness for PrEP, targeting adolescence girls and young women. Currently, I am working with Nyanza Initiative for Girls’ Education and Empowerment (NIGEE). I have been involved in a series of engagement and consultation meetings for the REACH study on “Meeting the HIV Prevention Needs of Adolescent Girls and Young Women” - Stakeholders Meeting on REACH, an Open-Label Safety and Adherence Study of the Dapivirine Vaginal Ring and Oral PrEP.
How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?
I will use the knowledge and tools to advance my advocacy work on HIV prevention in Kenya. I will organize sessions to share the information that I acquired at the academy. Learning about HIV cure will also give me the opportunity to introduce adolescent girls and young women to the new concept, it is still very new in Kenya and there is need to empower our people to appreciate the science behind it. I will also write blogs and contribute to other blogs.