In 1994, Jeanne Gapiya became the first person in Burundi to publicly disclose that she is HIV-positive.
She went on to establish a local organization that supports other people living with HIV/AIDS and advocate for their right to treatment. Gapiya is the president of the Association Nationale de Soutien aux Séropositifs et aux Malades du SIDA, or National Association for the Support of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Burundi.
“My role consists of mobilizing funds for PLWA in Burundi and pleading for human rights at the national and international level for people who are highly discriminated against (PLWA, men who have sex with men, orphans, etc.), particularly pleading for their right to care and treatment,” she said in an interview with the Center for Global Health Policy. “My other role consists of constantly reminding the political leaders and decision makers of their roles and responsibilities.”