IPM Appoints to its Board of Directors Two Leading Advocates at the Forefront of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV Prevention
SILVER SPRING, Md. (June 16, 2021)—The nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) today announced the appointments of Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng and Ms. Lillian Mworeko to its Board of Directors. The two new members bring extensive policy and advocacy experience in women’s HIV/AIDS services and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally and in sub-Saharan Africa, where the HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken the greatest toll.
Dr. Mofokeng is the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to health, and the first African woman to be appointed to the position. She is also a bestselling author, sexual health educator and practicing medical doctor who has devoted her life to advocating for SRHR, universal health access, HIV care and youth-friendly health services. Based in South Africa, she is an internationally recognized SRHR expert who previously led South Africa’s Commission for Gender Equality, which works to eliminate gender inequities, including gender-based violence. Dr. Mofokeng is an Extraordinary Senior Lecturer in gender, culture and HIV at the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management at Stellenbosch University and also serves on the boards of the Global Advisory Board for Sexual Health and Wellbeing and Accountability International.
“Everyone has the right to quality health care. Yet, as a doctor and health educator, I work every day with women, especially young women and adolescents, who don’t have the information or tools they need to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health,” said Dr. Mofokeng. “I am proud to join IPM’s Board so that we can improve HIV prevention options for women across sub-Saharan Africa.”
A long-time advocate for increasing the number of woman-centered reproductive health and HIV prevention options, Ms. Mworeko is the executive director and founding member of the International Community of Women living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA), a regional network run by and for HIV-positive women that advocates to improve the quality of life for women living with HIV. Together with UN Women, she co-leads a technical working group for the Global Partnership to Eliminate All Forms of HIV-Related Stigma and Discrimination and is a member of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Global Validation Advisory Committee for eMTCT & Syphilis. With over 20 years of experience in HIV/TB and SRHR programming, Ms. Mworeko is a human rights and women’s rights champion who has fought against gender inequality and gender-based violence and their impact on HIV/AIDS.
“Women in sub-Saharan Africa continue to shoulder the burden of HIV, and their needs and lived experiences must be prioritized when it comes to HIV prevention efforts,” said Ms. Mworeko. “I look forward to working as a member of IPM’s Board to ensure that women can access a range of prevention choices so they can control their health on their own terms.”
Dr. Mofokeng and Ms. Mworeko bring their expertise to the Board at an exciting point in IPM’s history. Founded to advance woman-controlled HIV prevention technologies, IPM developed the dapivirine vaginal ring, the first long-acting method designed specifically for women to reduce the risk of HIV transmission through vaginal sex. IPM is currently seeking initial regulatory approvals for the monthly ring in sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. The product received a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency under Article 58 (now known as EU Medicines4All) in 2020 and a recommendation from the WHO in 2021.
If approved, the ring could offer women a discreet and long-acting HIV prevention choice. Made of flexible silicone, the ring releases an antiretroviral drug called dapivirine over the course of one month.
“Engaging women throughout product development and delivery is essential to expanding the range of HIV prevention choices,” said Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, IPM’s founder and CEO. “We are so fortunate to welcome our newest board members, who have long amplified women’s voices and leadership.”
IPM is also developing longer-acting vaginal rings, including a three-month ring that could offer simultaneous HIV prevention and contraception, to further expand women’s sexual and reproductive health choices.
IPM gratefully acknowledges support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the KfW Development Bank, Irish Aid, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, UK aid from the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the American people through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
About dapivirine: Dapivirine is a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that acts by blocking HIV’s ability to replicate itself inside a healthy cell. IPM holds an exclusive worldwide license for dapivirine from Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
About IPM: IPM is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing new HIV prevention tools like the dapivirine ring and other sexual and reproductive health technologies for women, and making them available in developing countries and low-resource settings. IPM has offices in the United States, South Africa and Belgium. Please visit www.IPMglobal.org.