We are proud to announce that our Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana is the nominee for the AVAC’s Omolulu Falobi Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention Research Community Advocacy. The Award was established to pay tribute to the life and work of Omololu Falobi and to highlight the essential role of community advocacy in HIV prevention research. It honors individuals who have shown leadership and commitment to HIV prevention research advocacy and inspired others to action. It is presented biannually and traditionally, the award has come with a plaque, a cash prize and a scholarship to attend the conference where the award is presented to the recipient.
Omololu Falobi was a visionary leader who continues to inspire many people and projects. Ten years ago on October 5, 2006, we lost Omololu in a tragic accident. He was a leading HIV/AIDS activist, an advocate for prevention research and an exceptional journalist. Omololu made enormous impact in Nigeria and beyond—he nurtured and led campaigns related to prevention, treatment and research; won multiple awards nationally and internationally; and earned a tremendous reputation from all who had the privilege to work with him. He established the Journalists Against AIDS in Nigeria (JAAIDS), co-created the Nigeria AIDS eForum, co-founded the Nigerian HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Group (NHVMAG), was an instrumental, pioneering member of the Treatment Access Movement (TAM) Nigeria and a key leader of the African Civil Society Coalition on HIV and AIDS.
Midnight is previously mentioned in Global “HIV Advocates to Watch for in 2016” List. In recent AIDS 2016 Conference, Midnight’s engagement has been very influential on voicing Asia-Pacific’s MSM community’s aspiration, including high-level diplomacy and discussion with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and former president of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. At the 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, Midnight gave a remarkable Closing Plenary Statement, in which he urged the member States to increase investments in innovative regional and national approaches and programmes for and led by key populations to break down structural barriers that affect and make them vulnerable to HIV, especially of young gay men and other men who have sex with men, and transgender people in our region.
“What an honour to be nominated for the Fabilo Award,” said Midnight in regards to his nomination. “I’d like to thank AVAC for the recognition of APCOM’s contribution on increasing demand for HIV testing particularly for young gay men and other men who have sex with men in urban settings, as well as the inclusion of PrEP as part of the prevention tool.”
Midnight hopes that the award will inspire the next set of community leaders in Asia and the Pacific to lead and commit to HIV prevention and its research and advocacy. Within the current and the upcoming quarter alone, APCOM has expanded its regional city-based HIV testing campaign to Ho Chi Minh City, pledged partnership to conduct epidemiological and behavioural online research targeting young MSM in Greater Mekong Region and become a partner for a study of prevention effectiveness evaluation among YMSM in Thailand.