Advocates Archive - H
[please choose the first initial of the Advocate's last name]
IRMA Steering Committee Member
Bridget is Senior Policy Analyst and Family Planning NSW and IRMA Steering Committee member, has done HIV-related work since the early 1990s. She became interested in rectal microbicides because receptive anal intercourse is the primary means of HIV transmission in Australia.
“Though condom use is high in most at-risk populations here, condom use is hard to negotiate under certain circumstances, and expecting people to use condoms for every receptive sex act for an entire lifetime is not always reasonable.”
Bridget finds IRMA to be a great source of information and lively yet respectful debate on HIV biomedical prevention. She lives with her girlfriend and their young daughter, and is completing her PhD in bioethics, focusing on HIV biomedical prevention trials. She practices yoga and dreams of “actually having some spare time”!
“Microbicides, which are designed for receptive partners, could put power into the hands (and rectums and vaginas) of those who tend to be disempowered.”
[Posted September 2009]
Dr. Nesha Haniff
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
Nesha is the Senior Program Advisor for the Jamaica Aids Support for Life, an organization that has traditionally worked with MSM in Jamaica. Through her work with adolescent MSM, she discovered their vulnerability in a homophobic society where harassment and death would be the consequence of their sexual orientation. The result is a high rate of HIV infection among MSM, over 20%. The power relations of these young men with their older partners are similar to the lack of agency Nesha observes in women.
For Nesha, it is important that a rectal microbicide be developed to provide MSM with a technology that enables some control over sexual health. As a feminist, Nesha finds it equally important that rectal microbicides be available to women, since a large number of them have no available protection. However, she believes they should be available to all women and men who are at risk, and not just to those who can afford it and who live in the West.
As a senior program advisor on new technology at the Latin American and Caribbean AIDS Support Service Organization (LACASSO), Nesha is able to advocate for both men and women. She is also interested in developing innovative oral pedagogies as HIV prevention tools. Nesha loves to spend time with her friends in Jamaica, the United States, and South Africa.
[posted March 2008]
West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
Doreen Hardy is a doctoral candidate in Widener University’s Human Sexuality Program. The subject of her dissertation is the relationship of anal sexuality and the anal taboo to anal health. It is a qualitative, participatory action study that Doreen hopes will include IRMA members as participants. She anticipates that her research will find ways to facilitate increased efforts on anal health issues.
Upon graduation, Doreen hopes to teach at the college level and continue her research. She understands that the development of a rectal microbicide is challenging but a worthy challenge that is extremely useful for reasons that go beyond the utility of preventing HIV and anal cancer. Reaching out to people who engage in anal sex is important, according to Doreen, because it is increasingly a behavior practiced across populations. Now is the time for researchers and clinicians to take the opportunity and provide basic information and care!
Doreen also works on various LGBTQA affairs through her university. When not busy with research and class she loves to swim and practice yoga.
[posted March 2008]
Polly Harrison, PhD
Washington, DC, USA
Polly Harrison, PhD, is founder and Director of the Alliance for Microbicide Development, which strives to integrate the different kinds of people working on microbicides in the public and private sectors - developers, clinicians, biomedical and social scientists, and advocates - to share information, solve problems, and cultivate the resources they need.
After years of doing anthropological research on reproductive health needs and behavior in Latin America, while leading an Institute of Medicine study on new contraceptive technologies and coordinating HIV/AIDS and infectious disease research, she became committed to microbicides because of their enormous potential for the millions of women worldwide whose male partners refuse to use condoms.
Since microbicides will be used during anal as well as vaginal sex, whether or not they were designed for such use, she believes that "we must know a lot more about rectal physiology and the best corresponding formulations than we do, if microbicides are to be safe and eventually effective in helping prevent HIV."
Dr. Harrison is the mother of three and grandmother of seven and spends as much time with her family as possible. A self-proclaimed baseball junkie, Dr. Harrison also enjoys theatre and opera, reading, hiking, gardening, and "playing the piano badly."
[posted November 2007]
Dr. Craig Hendrix
Born in Washington D.C., Craig currently takes on multiple roles at nearby Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. He is a physician internist, clinical pharmacologist, and infectious diseases sub-specialist. With his extensive medical background, Craig is actively engaged in clinical research of microbicides with a focus on rectal microbicides.
He understands that men and women who engage in receptive anal intercourse need something more than just the “ABC” approach, which fails at many levels. Hopefully, microbicides can prove effective in reducing the risk of HIV and be added to the list of multi-modal strategies of HIV prevention. Craig finds that ignoring rectal microbicide efficacy and toxicity ignores the HIV prevention needs of both men who have sex with men (MSM) as well as women. He sees that by not focusing on microbicides, we may be ignoring “a method that could be behaviorally more transparent than existing methods, and, therefore, more acceptable and more often used by MSM who do not currently employ effective HIV prevention strategies.” Craig’s commitment to advocating forrectal microbicides is evident in his discussions with his medical school classes as well as with his family, friends, and acquaintances. Check out Craig's presentation from the Microbcides 2008 conference.
While he takes up multiple roles on the job, his leisure-time joys include spending time with his wife and adult kids, reading, and keeping up with seemingly endless yardwork. And even though his orthopedist won’t allow him to play soccer anymore, it doesn’t stop Craig from dreaming about it.
[Posted July 2008]
Born in Barcelona, Spain, Carolina Herrera’s interest in clinical and biomedical research led her to study at St. Georges, University of London where she is a post-doctoral research fellow.
“The colorectal tract is the most efficient route of HIV transmission,” she says. “Furthermore, not only are women more susceptible to infection, but on a global basis there are more women exposed to HIV through rectal intercourse than men. Therefore, the development of a microbicide that works rectally will have a huge impact on the spread of HIV for both men and women.”
Carolina is currently working on a project regarding the study of (PMPA)'s activity for rectal usage in macaques (PMPA stands for acyclic nucleoside phosphonate 9-(R)-2-(phosphono- methoxypropyl)adenine, tenofovir). This project is a compliment to her first project, which discusses RTI combinations (reverse transcriptase inhibitor) in colorectal explants.
Carolina’s rectal microbicide advocacy began by engaging in lectures and talks that were organized by advocates of the UK African Microbicides Working Group's Buzz Café. She also participates in Lab tours for World AIDS day at St. George's.
When Carolina is not in a laboratory, she likes to spend time outdoors riding horses, swimming, and playing volleyball.
[Posted January 2010]
Sharon L. Hillier, Ph.D., is professor and vice chair for faculty affairs, and director of reproductive infectious disease research at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine.
Being an internationally recognized microbiologist, has helped Sharon influence a growing field of research in which women’s health and HIV prevention concerns intersect.
As principal investigator for the Microbicide Trials Network, Sharon is leading an international team of investigators and community and industry partners, in an ambitious research agenda imposed by the urgency of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Although Dr. Hillier’s lab focuses on vaginal microbicides Sharon and her team acknowledge the importance of creating rectal microbicides.
“Microbicides could reduce mucosal transmission of HIV. Since mucosal transmission of HIV occurs both vaginally and rectally, we need to develop microbicides that will be effective no matter what kind of sex people have.”
Sharon recently advocated for microbicides during her presentation on the development of topical Microbicides for the prevention of HIV to the Biomedical Science Caucus of the U.S. Congress.
[Posted January 2010]