Dawn Averitt

Dawn Averitt began working in the HIV/AIDS arena in 1993, having been diagnosed with HIV in 1988. In addition to being the mother of 3 daughters, she has founded 2 nonprofit organizations, WISE (Women’s Information Service and Exchange) in 1995 and The Well Project (www.thewellproject.org) in 2002, to improve the lives of women living with HIV and AIDS. As a social justice advocate for people living with HIV and AIDS, Dawn also launched a think tank in 2003 now called the Women’s Research Initiative on HIV/AIDS (WRI), which drives “more, better, faster” research in women and has been responsible for many notable achievements, such as facilitating the GRACE Study, building network collaborations, guiding FDA labeling decisions, and shaping research and policy priorities at the NIH. In the past 25+ years, she has developed programs to increase awareness, accelerate testing, provide access to treatment, disseminate information, and expand clinical trials. Dawn has also served as a member of the Perinatal HIV Guidelines Committee from 2007 to 2012, the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council (OARAC) from 2008 to 2012, and 2 terms on the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) from 2010 to 2015 during the Obama administration.

Jim Pickett

Jim Pickett is Senior Director of Prevention Advocacy and Gay Men’s Health at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Having cofounded the International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA) in 2005, he continues to lead the network’s efforts to support safe, effective, acceptable, accessible, and desirable microbicides, in addition to a wide array of other short- and long-acting, systemic and non-systemic, user-controlled, behaviorally congruent, multipurpose prevention options. He leads the Illinois PrEP Working Group and directs Chicago’s globally acclaimed PrEP4Love social marketing campaign. POZ magazine has honored him in 3 of their “Top 100” lists, calling him a “soldier… instrumental in fighting for much-needed new prevention methods, undeterred by subjects many would prefer to ignore.” He has been living with HIV since 1995.

Ntando Yola

Ntando Yola is the Community Engagement Lead at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) in Cape Town, South Africa, and serves as the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Community Working Group Co-Chair. He has worked for almost 15 years as a community mobilizer and advocate in HIV trials, most of which have been HIV prevention research. He is a Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention’s (AVAC) alumni fellow and a member of various national, regional, and global platforms that champion communities’ interests through advocacy and engagement. The work he does is motivated by outcomes of effectively involving communities and seeing them take ownership in the efforts that seek to control the AIDS epidemic, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.