Advocates Archive - N
[please choose the first initial of the Advocate's last name]
Cape Town, South Africa
Lewis Ndlovu is a news producer and reporter for Synergy News Media, a non-governmental news porta in Cape Town , South Africal. He is also a key correspondent for an HIV/AIDS health news team in Thailand. As a health reporter and writer Lewis has been to places that are heavily affected by HIV/AIDS, “I never imagined that covering such issues would be a great challenge and a huge learning curve.”
He first encountered IRMA at the 2006 Cape Town conference and recently attended the 2008 conference in New Delhi. On a personal level, Lewis feels that rectal microbicides are an important link to HIV infection for people who engage in unprotected anal sex, including those in relationships.. He hopes that accelerated research and campaign tools are used as sources of information and become readily available as educational tools used to break the “rectal silence." A sense of urgency is necessary in the rectal microbicide world as it needs continued effort and increased funding.
Apart from being a journalist, Lewis is also a fashion model and TV actor. He enjoys traveling and cycling. Lewis also gives free educational sessions to prison inmates on various health topics.
[Posted May 2008]
“We are more than 7 billion people on this planet; we surely don’t and can’t have one way of having sexual intercourse. Our diversity is our wealth. Our sexuality as human beings is not supposed to be defined by the available prevention tools but all the HIV prevention tools have to be adapted to our sexuality.”
Alliance is an IRMA advocate who grew up in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. She since moved to Kigali, Rwanda where she has worked and studied, and is currently pursuing a public health degree in Sweden. She is actively involved in the discussions around HIV prevention research.
Alliance’s primary advocacy has been centered on female empowerment and prevention tools which could prevent penile-vaginal transmission, but she has become increasingly interested in the need for rectal microbicides as well. While involved in efforts to engage civil society organizations in medical male circumcision rollout, she became more aware of different sexual practices- particularly anal intercourse. She then heard of IRMA at the Microbicides 2010 conference in Pittsburgh and decided to become an advocate to meet others with a similar interest in rectal microbicides. She has been satisfied beyond her expectations!
Alliance advocates for both male and female use of rectal microbicides. Recently she had what she calls a “wake up call” while talking with a few African women who indicated they really enjoyed anal intercourse. Previously she had believed that women only did this to please their male partners. This exchange reinforced her understanding that women all over Africa need rectal microbicides in order to help prevent HIV.
Alliance attended IRMA's Project ARM - Africa for Rectal Microbicides meeting in Addis Ababa this past December, in conjunction with ICASA, and was excited about the opportunity for everyone there to shape the advocacy and research agenda for rectal microbicides in Africa. She hopes Project ARM will help to dispel the marginalization and discrimination towards those who practice anal intercourse in Africa.
Her advice for HIV prevention advocates is to keep expanding our prevention toolbox. She believes that if you are truly committed to ending HIV, why wouldn’t you stand up for rectal microbicides? If we continue talk about them whenever we can, it will help lessen the stigma, and each time you may be saving someone’s life. She hopes IRMA can reach out to more policy makers, researchers, and advocates so that they know about rectal microbicides and can add them to their discourse and agenda.
In her free time she enjoys reading, watching TV, and spending time with friends and family.
Thanks Alliance for all that you do!
[Posted February 2012]
Daniel Julio Eduardo Nuñez
"If we create a circle of people around you that at least know a word or two about rectal microbicides I believe the work is done, because everyone has his own circle, so the knowledge in one way or another will flow."
Daniel Nuñez is studying law. While working towards his law degree he began working at Epicentro with his local gay community. It is at Epicentro that Daniel met an IRMA member (Epicentro is the headquarters for IRMA-ALC, IRMA's South American sister) and, anxious to find out more about rectal microbicides, immediately sought more information. He was quickly inspired to spread the word about IRMA and its goals.
Daniel realizes that rectal microbicides are important "because we are humans and not robots, we don't necessarily act following a program and sometimes we do things that don't correspond to safe sexual behavior". Because of this he works to make many prevention options available to everyone.
He urges every IRMA advocate and anyone interested in microbicides or HIV prevention at all to discuss options and knowledge with family and friends. With each person able to talk openly and knowledgeably about AIDS and HIV prevention, Daniel hopes that the topic will become less taboo and more can be done in the fight against AIDS.
In his free time Daniel provides freelance tech support, but he enjoys it so it doesn't feel like work. He also enjoys watching TV programs from the United States such as A Game of Thrones, his current favorite show.
[Posted August 2011]
Obrian is an IRMA advocate from Harare, Zimbabwe where he serves as the national coordinator of Partners Zimbabwe, a partnership of six Zimbabwean HIV/AIDS organizations. These organisations have come together to promote information, dialogue and advocacy on HIV/tuberculosis issues in Zimbabwe, and Obrian coordinates all of their respective activities.
He came to know about IRMA through a friend who is a fellow HIV activist and an admirer of IRMA’s advocacy strategies. She advised Obrian to subscribe to the listserv, and he has been an active member ever since.
In Obrian’s perspective, rectal microbicides are an important priority among new HIV prevention technologies because very little has been done or said about them in Southern Africa - even though they have the potential to save lives. He believes that more research needs to be done on them because of the need for a complete arsenal of tools to fight the transmission of HIV.
“We will never reach a stage where we will sit back and say we have done enough, so we have to broaden the base of HIV prevention technologies!”
Obrian is an advocate to be admired, as he has taken much personal initiative for promoting microbicides in a region of the world where resources are lacking. In Zimbabwe and the surrounding countries, he acknowledges that little information on rectal microbicides is available. As a result, he takes every opportunity he can through workshops, reports, and other means to advocate for more information dissemination regarding microbicides and to push for more feasibility studies
When he is not hard at work advocating for rectal microbicides, he loves to watch soccer and spend time with his family.
[Posted August 2008]