On the eve of World AIDS Day, mothers2mothers (m2m) Peer Mentor Sanelisiwe spoke on a panel at the STOPAIDS Conference at The Impact Hub, Westminster. The conference was held to discuss the role of U.K. stakeholders in the past, present, and future of the global HIV response. More specifically, the conference looked at the role that U.K. leadership can play in keeping the response on the right trajectory to reach the UNAIDS Fast Track targets and ultimately end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Ahead of her address, Sanelisiwe met with fellow panelist, Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela. The pair both travelled to London from South Africa over World AIDS Day to advocate for HIV & adolescent health. Together, they are the generation that will end the epidemic – a tremendously exciting meeting of minds and a powerful reminder of the strength of South African youth.
During her panel discussion, Sanelisiwe spoke on how HIV can be integrated into broader youth and women’s services by sharing her personal experiences. She says it’s critical for adolescents to be able to talk to people who are closer to their age. “They are afraid to go to a health centre and say ‘I’m here for family planning’ to someone who is older and wearing a uniform. They are afraid that they will be judged.” she explained. Sanelisiwe shared the panel with Mark Goldring, Oxfam U.K. Executive Director; Lelio Marmora, Executive Director UNITAID and Claire Moran, Head of Human Development Department, DFID, who discussed how HIV is being integrated across DFID’s portfolio.
Anne Aslett, Executive Director of EJAF, spoke passionately about EJAF’s commitment to elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV over the past decade and singled out our very own Peer Mentor during her panel discussion, “It’s lovely to see Sanelisiwe from mothers2mothers speaking here today.” Sanelisiwe also had a chance to speak with Lord Collins, the Labour Party’s Lords Spokesperson for International Development, and Lord Bates, the Minister of State at the Department for International Development.