Tian Johnson


Lead consultant to the South African National AIDS Council on the development of Human Rights, Stigma and Discrimination content for the country’s National Strategic Plan on HIV, STI’s and TB 2017 – 2022, Tian has over the last two decades worked on a vast range of development areas. He brings to the VARG the ability to navigate and influence policy and community spaces within the epidemic response nationally and regionally. Historically, Tian’s work centred around access to education for girls, the prevention of gender based violence, creating and sustaining networks of people with HIV and documenting South Africa’s integrated strategy for the prevention of, response to and support for survivors of sexual assault billed by former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as a best practice model.


While directing a national programme that sought to end rape in all forms of detention, Tian has also focused on female condom programming and contraceptive access, vaginal microbicide programming models, the intersections of faith and sexual rights and reviewing comprehensive sexuality education models in 12 African countries. Tian has consulted on work that looks at monitoring and mitigating the impact of gender violence and HIV amongst sex workers as well as an analysis of women’s access to paralegal services in the context of HIV and gender based violence in Sub Saharan Africa.


As an independent consultant, Tian currently sits on the Strategic Advisory group for the Coalition to Accelerate and Support Prevention Research (CASPR) a five year USAID supported project that seeks to build and sustain an Africa-centred network for advancing advocacy, policy, regulatory, community engagement and communications efforts to accelerate biomedical HIV prevention research. Tian represents the VARG on the African AIDS Vaccine Virtual Network Steering Committee.


Tian Johnson is a  member of the South African Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 vaccines, founder and head of the African Alliance, a global non-profit working on a range of health rights issues with a current focus on COVID-19 and its social impact. An Aspen 2021 New Voices Fellow and Tian serves as the International Civil Society Observer of the Robert Carr Fund, the world’s leading international fund focused on funding regional and global networks led by and involving and serving inadequately served populations (ISPs). As a cooperative effort of donors and civil society, the Robert Carr Fund is structured to maximise participation, empowerment, equity, transparency and accountability in fundraising and grant-making.

The Robert Carr Fund works to mobilise and deliver core and strategic funding for regional and global networks to achieve four outcomes:

  1. Protecting and promoting human rights
  2. Improving access to HIV services
  3. Mobilising and monitoring national and international funding for human rights and health
  4. Building capacity of civil society and community networks

In 2020 Tian joined the Hands Off II housed at Dutch NGO AIDS Fonds as GBV expert adviser to the programme which works to reduce violence against sex workers in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In 2021 Tian joined the COVID-19 African Vaccine Delivery Alliance (AVDA) to a) Establish the mechanism for immediate shipment of vaccines to countries for rapid deployment b) Develop a vaccine supply chain implementation & monitoring framework to guide countries and ensure close monitoring of the planning and the implementation phases and c) Identify enabling factors, challenges and lessons learnt from the vaccine deployment activities.