Advocates Archive - K
[please choose the first initial of the Advocate's last name]
“I think that rectal microbicides are important because individuals need different options that have the potential to strengthen HIV prevention efforts by enabling women and men to choose from and use a wide range of methods to protect themselves from contracting HIV and other STIs.”
Mariama is the Operations Manager for the African HIV Policy Network (APHN), an alliance of African community-based organizations and their supporters that are working for fair policies for people living with HIV/AIDS in the UK. As the only African organization in the UK whose work is dedicated to policy, advocacy and national and international representation, the APHN provides training, support, research and information focused on HIV and sexual health among Africans in the UK.
A native of Sierra Leone, Mariama first encountered IRMA via the UK African Microbicides Working Group; a group of individuals from several UK HIV organizations that are working to accelerate the ethical development and global delivery of microbicides and other HIV prevention options. The Working Group stays abreast of current issues in microbicide development by hosting ‘buzz cafes,’ one of which is featured on the IRMA blog, and by engaging with scientists and the media.
She loves to travel and meet new people, or spend time with family and friends.
[Posted November 2010]
Cape Town , South Africa
"Rectal microbicides are important and should be a top priority among new HIV prevention because anal sex occurs between heterosexuals as well as homosexuals," says Brian Kanyemba. "Awareness of anal sex and continuing discussions on anal sex could bring down homo-negativity and prejudice against MSM."
Brian is an IRMA member, an Advocate Fellow with AVAC, and a Research Assistant with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. He has been very involved with IRMA's Project ARM - Africa for Rectal Microbicides, and an integral member of the Project ARM video working group which is producing an African-focused video on anal sex and rectal microbicides.
At the May 23 - 25 Top2Btm symposium in Cape Town, Brian presented an excellent poster called "Developing Rectal Microbicides in Africa - the advocacy needed to make it happen." Click here to check it out.
Brian feels lucky to have been part of the African arm of the iPrEx study, the results of which have been extremely meaningful to the MSM community. As an advocate Brian works on comprehensive community awareness of HIV prevention tools.One way in which Brian does this is to let people know that rectal microbicides are not just for MSM, but also have the potential to greatly affect the heterosexual community.
Brian also works to increase awareness and reduce stigma. "Sex is a taboo in the African context, now it's the time to call a spade a spade and send the message around," he says. He hopes that progress in sex education curriculums will aid the process, thereby bringing the epidemic out of the shadows.
In his free time, aside from his ceaseless interest in discussions of HIV prevention, Brian can be found dancing, playing pool, and drinking a good beer.
[Posted May 2011]
Jeremy Wing Kien
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
IRMA Steering Committee Member
As the in-house program manager of the Pink Triangle (PT) Foundation, Jeremy has years of experience working as an advocate with Malyasia’s MSM community. His involvement on IRMA’s steering committee partially stems from his personal interest in discovering the benefits of rectal microbicides for the sexual health of gay men. At the same time, he was looking to network with other international HIV/AIDS organizations who work with at-risk groups.
With alarming increases in HIV infection among Malaysia’s vulnerable communities, Jeremy sees a need to introduce a new prevention approach. Easily accessible and affordable rectal microbicides will hopefully meet that need. Because microbicides are a prevention technique virtually unheard of in Malaysia, Jeremy has worked to educate the largely tech-savvy MSM and gay community about it via major Malaysian MSM and gay websites, including the community websites of the PT Foundation. He hopes to advocate for the need of microbicide research at the local level. Jeremy is also helping to present the workshop "Making Anal Sex Safer for MSM in the Developing World" with the IRMA team at the The Invisible Men pre-conference at AIDS 2008, sponsored by the Global Forum on MSM and HIV.
Jeremy finds joy in sharing knowledge and research with others for the sake of HIV/AIDS prevention on the Asian and international HIV/AIDS front. In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys reading self-help and inspirational books and listening to various genres of music. It is important to him to build relationships with members of both the gay and straight community while also volunteering his time with programs geared towards MSM and gay men, enriching his life as a gay Malaysian.
[Posted July 2008]
Ramakirshnan Krishna is an HIV/TB co-infection research assistant. After the Microbicides 2008 conference in New Delhi, Ramakrishnan eagerly began to learn more about rectal microbicides, via the IRMA website, blog and listserv.
Although he is new to the rectal microbicides realm of HIV prevention, Ramakrishnan is excited to be engaging in advocacy work. He is aware that reaching out to people who participate in anal sex is very difficult due to the stigma it attracts, but is confident that with determination and hard work, IRMA members will be successful in reaching the populations who are enagaging in this behavior. He looks forward to the day when a rectal microbicide is developed with the ability to prevent HIV.
In his free time, Ramakrishnan continues his education by attending trainings on HIV research
[Posted May 2008]