Leaving No Nigerian Behind (LeNNiB) Champions Mentorship Program Application


New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS) is happy to announce the Call for Applications for the 2018 batch of the Leaving No Nigerian Behind (LeNNiB) Champions Mentorship Programme. The LeNNiBprogramme is a community centered advocacy programme that is focused on empowering young people through trainings and mentorship, to make significant changes in their various communities and environment while addressing the HIV prevention needs of community members.

The LeNNiB Champions project is a NHVMAS HIV Prevention Academy bridging project that helps individual advocates and organizations to learn how to include HIV prevention advocacy into planned and ongoing programs that are important but not exclusively focused on HIV control.


To empower community organizations to facilitate HIV prevention research advocacy through structural interventions. The Champions should envision making HIV prevention research advocacy an integral component of all development work in Nigeria.

All applicants must:

  • Must be between be between the age of 19-30years
  • Must be a staff or affiliated of a non-profit/community based organization
  • Must have good written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Reside in Lagos State

During the programme all learners will:

  • Undertake a structured face-to-face training programme twice a week
  • Receive formal supports from mentors and peers to implement a specific project.
  • Participate in the Good Participatory Practice (GPP) course organised by AVAC

While NHVMAS shall recruit interested young persons into this formal programme, its focus shall be on building institution and organizational capacity to integrate and implement HIV prevention research advocacy at local (State) and national levels. The expected outcome is that there would be increased public education and awareness on biomedical HIV prevention research in the communities where LeNNiB champions would be working.

  1. Applicants should submit the following:
  2.  The filled application questions
  3.  A letter of support from supervisor
  4. Most up-to-date resume/CV

All completed applications should be emailed to tosinba2000@gmail.com with the subject “LeNNiB champions Application” no later than November 30th, 2018.

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New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society in Collaboration with the Vaccine Advocacy Research Group, AVAC

Press Release: May 18, 2015 (No Embargo)

On May 18, 1997, US President Bill Clinton committed to developing an AIDS vaccine within 10 years. Nearly 20 years later, we still don’t have one. And every day in Nigeria, 1,000 people become newly infected. Research and development of a HIV vaccine is still ongoing. We are closer than ever to having an AIDS vaccine. The success in the field with the Thai vaccine development efforts reported in 2009 has resulted in significant growth in the field. The result showed, for the first time, that a vaccine can reduce the risk of HIV infection. Now, researchers are pursuing groundbreaking research with other novel vaccine strategies, including broadly neutralizing antibodies that target a wide range of HIV strains.

While we wait for the development of a HIV and or AIDS vaccine, we have a lot to celebrate in the field of HIV prevention. For much of the first 30 years of the epidemic, we advocates who work in the field have had to promote abstinence, male and female condom use and treatment of sexually transmitted infections as the strategies for prevention of sexual transmission of HIV infection. The field has however advanced in the last decade. Research has helped us expand the armamentarium for HIV prevention. We now know that anti-HIV drugs not only keep HIV positive people healthy, they work so well that a person on successful HIV treatment has very little chance of passing the virus to a sexual partner. Treatment is also prevention.

In addition, multiple studies of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) have shown that people at risk of HIV can take a particular anti-HIV medication to prevent infection. Individuals at risk of contracting HIV can reduce that risk by taking anti-HIV medication consistently.

We also know that voluntary medical circumcision also greatly reduces a man’s risk of acquiring HIV, an effect that actually seems to strengthen over time; fewer HIV positive men means less HIV risk for women and the community at large.

More than ever before, we now need to make sure that all of the HIV prevention methods we have today reach the people who need them.  At the same time we need to continue the investments in research to ensure even more prevention options are developed and made available.  While we know that an AIDS vaccine remains essential to ultimately ending the epidemic, today on HIV Vaccine Awareness Day 2015, we can report progress in the field of HIV Vaccine research as well as progress in the development of other HIV prevention strategies.

First,  Janssen, part of Johnson & Johnson, is launching its own international clinical trial to test a vaccine deveoped with partners. We haven’t seen a large vaccine developer invest in clinical trials for AIDS vaccine without public or charitable contributions in almost a decade. This vaccine strategy incorporatesa strategy that researchers hope will protect against the many different types of HIV that circulate around the world.

Second, further upstream research involves the discovery that some people living with HIVcreate particularly potent antibodies that are able to ‘neutralize’ many different HIV strains. A handful ofthese ‘broadly neutralizing antibodies’, or bNAbs, have been isolated from blood samples donated by HIV infected individuals. Scientists are now planning to test whether direct transfer of the most potent antibodies could prevent, treat, or even be part of a cure for HIV when infused directly into the blood stream. Early clinical trials testing this process, known as ‘passive immunization’, currently involve monthly intravenous blood transfusions lasting 30 minutes or more. But the aim is to reduce the time and frequency of infusions to perhaps quarterly or twice a year. A recent small study using one of these potent antibodiesfound that virus levels dropped significantly among participants living with HIV, an effect that lasted one month after only one dose.

bNAb research is in very early stages. There are many questions and unknowns, and the science is extremely difficult to understand and explain to non-scientists. As this work moves forward, scientists and funders need to collaborate with advocates and community stakeholders to ensure that adequate resources are allocated to communications and community engagement.

With the excitement in the field, and the prospect for the future, we ask that the robust community of researchers in the HIV field in Nigeria needs to be at the table now that research plans are being developed to ensure that the needs of Nigerians and West Africa as a region is addressed. We also need the continued engagement of our HIV activists, advocates and community stakeholders who will help explain the science, purpose and possible outcomes of this research, support and track the research path, ask the hard questions, demand progress and efficiency, and other aspects of the R&D process. We need to collectively ensure that Nigerians and West Africa as a region start working conscientiously for prompt access to developed product. We also need to engage with the exciting efforts to understand if and how to cure HIV in people who are already infected. The timeline for this work is long and uncertain. Here, too, advocacy is needed to sustain momentum.

As we join the world to celebrate HIV Vaccine day 2015, here is wishing everyone of us great outlooks for a world free of AIDS.


The New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society, in collaboration with Safehaven and her partners on the Gender Forum, jointly celebrate the International Women’s Day. We celebrate the success recorded all around the world with respect to gender responses. We also recognize the efforts made by the Nigerian government towards ensuring gender equality in all aspects of national policy formulation and programming. We continue to ask our government to be accountable to its promise and to work towards ending the various forms of violence against women and female sex workers in line with the UN theme for the 2013: A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women and girls.

As the global and national HIV epidemiological data show us, the HIV epidemic continues to affect women disproportionately. This disproportionate impact affects the physical, social, economic, spiritual and psychological wellbeing of women. We therefore need to see more being done to understand and address the many factors that puts women at a disadvantage in Nigeria. We acknowledge the ongoing efforts of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS to commission operation researches one of which explores fundamentals of the gender dynamics in HIV epidemiology in Nigeria. We recognize this as a positive development. We however also recognize that there is still more to be done.

As a collective body, we call for more research and implementation science to address the impact of poor access to formal education by girls on their disproportionate risk for HIV. Evidences from our national surveys show clearly that young girls with low or no formal education are disproportionately affected by HIV. We need more concrete efforts by our national and state government to ensure young girls have access to formal education and are retained in school.

We know also that the biology of the woman increases her risk for HIV infection. Yet, there is currently little effort in the country to address the need for development of tools to enhance the ability of women to protect herself from HIV infection. We are aware of the ongoing FACTS 001 microbicide trials in South Africa. While Nigeria may not be able to host such trials, we are yet to see evidence of Nigeria being prepared to translate the outcome of those sciences into action. We therefore call on our national government and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS to start putting in place post trial access plans for microbicides and all other potential HIV prevention tools that will enhance the ability of women to protect themselves.

We also are starting to learn about the potential of DMPA – an hormonal contraceptive very popular with women in Nigeria – to increase their risk for HIV infection. The evolving evidence in the field are pointing clearing to the probability of a two-fold increased risk for HIV infection for HIV negative women who are using DMPA. We need to see our government respond to this evolving scientific evidence and find ways of ensuring women are empowered with this information so as to enable them make informed choices about contraceptive use.

We demand that the Nigerian government be more alive to its national and global responsibility to the Nigerian woman so as to ensure an AIDS free generation which is practically impossible when the ability of women to prevent themselves from getting infected with HIV is not addressed. Collectively, we ask for prompt action by the national government led by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS to develop an action plan that will address the identified gaps enumerated above. We ask for increased investment in implementation science that will enable the country develop evidence based responses that can address the factors that increase the risk of young girls and women to HIV infection.


NHVMAS Statement on the VOICE Study Result

NHVMAS congratulates the team at the Microbicide Trial Network for concluding and sharing with the rest of the world and we African women a most vital piece of information that helps us to learn more about the needs of African women. We consider the outcome of the study a most useful piece of information that makes it quite clear what we women in Africa needs.

The Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic study, also known as the VOICE study, released yesterday by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health at CROI indicates that participants provided daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) did not experience any protection against HIV compared to those in the placebo arm. This is likely because very few were taking the study drugs as directed as less than one-third of participants assigned to use the product had any study drug detected in their blood. The earlier arm of the study that was looking at tenefovir gel efficacy also showed that it was not protective against HIV infection probably for the same reason. The products are however safe for use in we African women.

While the study may be interpreted as a failure to demonstrate that daily oral Truvada and oral tenofovir pill and failure of daily tenofovir gel application in the vagina to prevent HIV infection in the study participants, we at NHVMAS however do view the study as part of the piece of a jigsaw that tells us a comprehensive story about ARV based prevention.

For we at NHVMAS and the voice we represent here in Nigeria, the iPrEx study, the Partners PrEP study, the TDF2 study, the Fem-PREP and now the VOICE study are all complementary: The  iPrEx study shows clearing that  PrEP using Truvada works in men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women who have sex with men; the Partners PrEP study showed clearly that PrEP using Truvada and tenofovir works with serodiscordant couples including the African women who participated in the study; the TDF2 study, conducted in heterosexual men and women in Botswana, also showed PrEP using tenofovir works. Effectiveness of these products however, depends on adherence.

The VOICE study confirms what the FEM-PREP study had earlier found – for we African women, adherence to once daily pill use is a challenge and thus for us, PrEP using a once daily pill regimen will not be effective. It confirms the literally existing evidence on ground that popping a daily pill for any reason when there is no hard need for it is a challenge for many of we African women.

We African women who bear the greatest burden of the disease therefore need our partners and friends to continue with their efforts at discovering products that will enable us take the needed precaution for HIV prevention. The overall HIV incidence of 4.7% in women engaged in the VOICE study is completely unacceptable.

We in Nigeria join voices with other African women to ask for global support for the FACTS 001 study which has the potential to show that tenofovir gel used on a coitally dependent basis may make a difference to our needs.

We need all our researcher friends and partners, our donors and all critical stakeholders to invest and continue to invest in the various ring studies that has the potential for long releases of active substances that can prevent against HIV.

We also need human and financial investments in new studies that have a potential for the development of long acting PrEP wherein we women may take a single effective does of PrEP that may last for many months. Something that closely simulates what we look for in contraceptives.

We ask for continued research into the development of a rectal microbicide as the VOICE study clearly adds more evidence to the knowledge: women in Africa do engage in anal sex.

The VOICE and the FEM-PREP study is the hard evidence of the African women voices. The VOICE and FEM-PREP studies are a few of the sciences we need as we go into the future that clearly tells the world about what we women in Africa – Nigeria inclusive – need when it comes to prevention products. We need products that take cognisance of the nuances of our daily lives. We live daily with stressful challenges that may make HIV prevention not top the list of our daily priorities. It does not mean we do not care about preventing ourselves from contracting HIV infection. It simply means we need products that can fit into the reality of our daily lives.

We join the rest of the world to thank all the 5,029 sisters from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Uganda who volunteered to participate in the VOICE trial. We also commend the Microbicide Trials Network and the National Institutes of Health for successfully implementing an incredibly important trial that has contributed more to the science of HIV prevention.

We look forward to learning more about the potential contributions of culture, norms and the entire social enterprise that the study participants live in to what the VOICE study revealed. The MTN 003c and MTN 003d are important studies for us.

Nigeria: a haven for clinical trials

Dr Ado Mohammed, a Nigerian who owns a contract research organisation with branches in Nigeria, US and UK, noted during the 1st clinical trial summit that held in Lagos between the 15th and 16th of September 2012 that Nigeria is a potential clinical trial destination route. While many other presenters at the meeting discussed extensively about the challenges and obstacles there are to the conduct of good quality research in Nigeria, Dr Ado spent 40 minutes of his lecture session sharing with the over 70 participants at the conference, the large potentials there are in Nigeria for the conduct of clinical trials.

For one, the huge population of Nigeria is a great asset, he notes. Clinical researchers would rather conduct clinical trials in a single country that run trials in multiple countries. Nigeria large and diverse populations, large number of people who do not abuse drugs, large number of hospitals which can serve as points for recruitment of clinical trial participants, large number of highly skilled health care practitioners, an organised clinical regulatory system, efficient courier services, transport systems and communication networks, and registered clinical trial support services. These are all incredible assets the country should celebrate.

Dr Mohammed notes that he his not unaware of the many challenges in the country. However, these challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria. Pharmaceutical countries are ready to invest hugh resources to resolve these problems researchers can demonstrate their capacity to conduct good clinical trials that would generate world class trial results.

Prof Okoye, the President of the Association of Good Clinical Practice, one of the two organisers of the conference (the conference was organised in collaboration with NAFDAC) noted that clinical trials have the potential to generate more resources than crude oil for Nigeria. She noted that clinical research remains one of the top five national sources of income for Nigeria.

Despite the attractiveness of clinical trials, it is important to ensure and prevent the potential for abuse and exploitation. Mr Aminu Yakubu, the Desk Officer of the National Health Research Ethics Committee (NHREC), the committee in charge of health research ethics committee regulation in Nigeria, noted that the National Health Research Ethics Code is a well thought through document that can help significantly reduce research participants’ abuse. The document compliments the Good Clinical Practice document developed by NAFDAC also for clinical trial regulation. Between NAFDAC and NHREC, unethical research practices can be reduced to the barest minimum in Nigeria when all parties play their role as proscribed in the documents.

It is important to consider these potential as this meeting comes up on the heel of earlier consultative meetings held between community representative and researchers stakeholders in Nigeria in June, August and September this year. The consultative meetings were facilitated by NHVMAS in collaboration with four other partners (TIER, CADAM, IRMA, Safehaven). Community members were able to identify many research irregularities that affect the informed consent process, community engagement in research processes, and the standard of care provided for research participants. One major concern as expressed by community participants at this meeting is what often happens in many teaching hospitals: patients are made to pay for research related procedures. This is actually unethical but unfortunately, many patients are not aware of this right, noted Ms Florita Durueke, the Programme Manager of NHVMAS. NHVMAS is expending time and efforts at building capacity of members of the community to understand their rights, roles and responsibilities as research participants. We hope Nigerians will be able to learn and identify such abuses and start to speak up against these themselves, Ms Durueke commented.