Advocacy-for-Cure Academy

Firman Syaleh

Nationality: Indonesia
Institution: National Networking Gay, Transgender/Transsexual and MSM
Country of work: Indonesia

What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?

I have been HIV-positive for 3 years, since I was diagnosed in 2015. A support group taught me how people living with HIV can survive and fight to fulfil the needs of the GMT community in accessing HIV prevention services. I felt compelled to do the same work for other people who are newly diagnosed with HIV and fulfil GMT need to get HIV prevention. It motivated me to make sure that they feel comfortable about their diagnosis and to let them know that they can live a high-quality life and fulfilled health rights, even with HIV.

What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?

The advocacy work that I am engaged in is working together with local community-based organizations (CBOs) to reduce barriers in healthcare access among GMT individuals and strive for the inclusion of the needs of YGMT into routine HIV prevention, care and treatment service delivery in Indonesia. We also ensure strong linkages between community and service providers in health and CBOs services by using multiple strategies, including the supply side, demand side, the quality of service and enabling environments. The organization uses research results as an advocacy tool to demand that the Ministry of Health and the district health officer fulfil the needs of GMT, which has led to improved access to medication and HIV testing without an ID card and lower costs to obtain care support.

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

The Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence my work in persuading local community-based organization members of GWL-INA to strengthen advocacy work related to the fulfilment of health rights for the GMT community, especially access to better treatment and hope for an HIV cure in the future. I will use the data and research evidence presented at the academy to collaborate with the University HIV Research Center at home to build on the evidence and make recommendations to policymakers, the Ministry of Health and the district health officer.