My name is Sriyal Nilanka
I am currently working at FPA Sri Lanka
I am the recipient of the 2020 HIV Hero Award
Why is the HERO Awards important for the region?
The HERO awards recognizes persons often who go unnoticed for their contribution to their communities and provides an opportunity to acknowledge the HIV activists and human right defenders in the region. It gives us a sense of validation and the spirit to continue the work we are doing.
What were you able to achieve last year?
I was invited to join many training workshops on HIV among youth from different youth clubs, and universities, I was invited to speak about HIV and my experience on TV platforms which significantly increased my reach to deliver my message.
What are the challenges that you still see within your community?
Currently the knowledge and willingness to accept scientific progress is very low. The lack of institutional backing may contribute to the low knowledge among the community.
What support is needed for your country and for Asia Pacific?
Improving the knowledge of U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable), PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and PEPSE (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis following Sexual Exposure) is very much required in Sri Lanka. I trust that with the rapidly growing Sexualised Drug Use, harm reduction is also a key area that we should focus on when supporting the community in Sri Lanka.
Wishes for the 2021 nominees for the HERO Awards?
First of all my congratulations for being nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in Asia! You are being acknowledged by the community from the entire region. Secondly treasure this privilege and let it fuel the next chapter of your work for the Community! No matter if you win or not, your work is valued, and you are appreciated. Good luck!