Advocates Archive - O
[please choose the first initial of the Advocate's last name]
Prince Goodluck Obi
“Unprotected anal intercourse is 5 to 80 times more likely to result in HIV transmission compared to unprotected vaginal intercourse. To stop this ugly development, it becomes imperative that a safe, effective and acceptable rectal microbicide for women and men is developed”
Prince Goodluck Obi was born in Ubulu ihejiofor, Nigeria who has inhabited all regions of Nigeria. Though stationed in Lagos, Nigeria Prince’s position as the National Executive President of United Nations of Youth Network Nigeria (UNOY) allows him to travel all over the country.
He had already gotten a start in the field of microbicide research through his work as a Human Rights Activist for sexual minorities, in addition to being a founding member of the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS). However, he became more heavily involved with IRMA after the 2006 Microbicide Conference in South Africa.
“I face a lot of challenges and opposition in trying to disseminate the information at home because MSM is criminalized in our constitution, but that does not stop me,” he says.
As a devoted member of IRMA, Prince Goodluck has raised awareness locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally through his various leadership positions. Through the use of public announcements, IRMA telephone conferences, participation in multiple AIDS conferences and three accepted abstracts on rectal microbicides, Prince Goodluck has shed light on how vital rectal microbicides are in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
[Posted April 2010]
Like many gay men, Bill O’Brien knew very little about microbicides before beginning his current job with Fenway Community Health in Boston, 2005. Since then he has been involved in microbicide development and partnered in research looking at acceptability issues related to microbicides.
Bill continues to advocate for the research and development of rectal microbicides because they can give gay men at risk for HIV additional options for protection. He believes in the empowerment that microbicide development will give to both men and women to protect themselves and the overall positive impact microbicides will have on HIV infection around the world.
As a John Shaw Memorial Scholarship recipient, Bill is excited to represent IRMA at the Microbicides 2008 conference and continue John Shaw’s passionate activism. Bill is also interested in public health and enjoys cooking, reading, and riding his bike. Using the internet, learning about social networking sites, and music production software are other ways Bill spends his free time.
[posted February 2008]
"I stand out strongly as a women's rights champion, and am quite steadfast on the human need for rectal microbicides."
Carol received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Eastern Africa. Since graduating, she has focused on social work, and has helped to develop and implement care and support programs for people living with HIV. She currently works in biomedical HIV prevention research advocacy, and enjoys advocating for women's rights and sexual health rights.
Carol became involved with IRMA when the topic of rectal microbicides was still a relatively new in Kenya. In December of 2011, Carol was one of a number of African leaders who joined IRMA for a two-day strategy meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that took place in advance of the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa. The meeting officially launched IRMA's Project ARM - Africa for Rectal Microbicides initiative. IRMA recently released a report from that meeting called "On The Map: Ensuring Africa's Place in Rectal Microbicide Research and Advocacy" recommending a set of priority actions for IRMA and allies to better engage Africans across the continent in rectal microbicide activities. Carol played a very important role in helping define those strategies. Learn more about Project ARM, and read the report, here.
She understands that different prevention strategies need to be developed to provide sexual health to the world's population and that rectal microbicides will provide a new tool for women and men regardless of sexual orientation. Specifically, she educates women, young and old, about anal sex
Currently, Carol is working on a collaboration between AVAC and ATHENA Network called WHiPT - Women's HIV Prevention Tracking Project.
She will soon be a featured speaker in the satellite session "Rectal Microbicides: Making HIV Prevention Gel" at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC with other members of IRMA and allies. The session is taking place in the afternoon on Sunday, July 22, 2012 - more info on this event can be found here.
Carol encourages IRMA to keep pushing forward, and believes that a day will come when all of the group's collective work and efforts are fully appreciated.
HIV has taught her to value every person and every opinion. And her five-year-old daughter gives her a reason to wake up and work hard every day. Because of her daughter's influence, she strives to be a better person and tries to give back to the community as much as she can.
Thank you, Carol, for all that you do!
[Posted July 15, 2012]
Sholotan Abdulrahaman Oladimeji
By reaching out to young African men and women who are questioning their sexual orientation, Sholotan aims to break down the structural barriers and engage in open communication between all actors involved in HIV prevention.
He joined IRMA because it is a community working towards a safer environment for those who have anal sex. Sholotan is proud to be part of a team that encourages new ideas and approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention. Once a rectal microbicide is made available to people everywhere, Sholotan believes that we will be closer to overcoming one type of behavior that frequently spreads HIV.
As a medical student in Lagos, Nigeria, Sholotan plans to advocate by attending seminars, working with young adults, and educating on the risks of unprotected anal sex. He hopes to live in a world where young people are free to safely express themselves.
When not busy with school, Sholotan likes to read, watch football, and search the web for fascinating microbicide news and articles - like those right here on the IRMA website!
[Posted May 2008]
Margaret Onah says that "rectal microbicides are an important priority among new HIV prevention technologies because so many people, both males and females, engage in anal sex and the society pretends that it is not real, and so do not want to be associated with it."
An advocate from Calabar, Nigeria, Margaret is the Director for Safe Havens International and is a member of IRMA and IRMA Nigeria. She provides support services to vulnerable women and girls (female sex workers, teenage mothers and widows) and communities by educating and informing them on issues of sexual & reproductive health rights. Her mission as an advocate for human rights and health issues is to enhance the well-being of her community and its most vulnerable members with a participatory approach.
Margaret was introduced to IRMA when she became a member of the Global Campaign for Microbicides and the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicides Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), the "steering wheel" for microbicide advocacy in Nigeria. She began her advocacy with IRMA because she is concerned about the stigma and discrimination associated with anal sex, which she knows prevent people from seeking diagnosis and treatment, further compounding the problem. "If we are soliciting for vaginal microbicides, we should do the same for rectal microbicides because sex is sex no matter what form."
When she's not working Margaret enjoys reading biographies, dancing, and Christian books and music.
[Posted May 2011]
IRMA Steering Committee Member
Olanrewaju Onigbogi holds a medical degree from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Kuopio in Finland. He thereafter had a post-graduate fellowship in Community Medicine and Epidemiology at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Lanre, who describes himself as a researcher as well as an advocate, got involved with IRMA during the Microbicides 2006 conference in Cape Town. His interest in microbicides stems from his involvement in research into the acceptability of candidate microbicides and his identification of the need for advocacy in making these products available for the use of both men and women.
His interest in rectal microbicides especially is further reinforced by his belief that these products will be of benefit to young African women who have anal sex with their partners for fear of getting pregnant.
“Research ends up on dusty tables without advocacy.”
[Posted September 2009]
George Victor Owino
“You should try being an IRMA advocate; you will love the energy and drive you get from it. If you can say rectal microbicides to over 100 people, you can sell anything to anyone on this earth!”
George is an IRMA advocate from Nairobi, Kenya. There he is the Project Coordinator and Health Educator at Ishtar MSM - a community based organization whose mission is to attain full sexual health rights and social well being for MSM in Kenya. He is also a Board Member at GALCK - the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya. His passions are to advocate for and research issues surrounding access to stigma and discrimination free healthcare for the LGBTI community, environmental conservation, and human rights in general. He also loves to watch horse racing!
He first became familiar with IRMA when a colleague sent him the application to apply for a scholarship to the Project ARM - Africa for Rectal Microbicides meeting in Addis Ababa this past December, in conjunction with ICASA. He was one of 16 people chosen and was surprised to see how vibrant the rectal microbicide movement in Africa had become! He had heard of rectal microbicides and IRMA before, but said he was not aware that such support existed for them in Africa.
George believes rectal microbicides are important to include in a comprehensive approach to combating HIV. He frequently hears stories of condoms bursting and allergies to latex in his work, and he thinks rectal microbicides would be able to help a lot in these situations. “A rectal microbicide would give human beings the power to have safer sex, protect themselves and their partners from infection, and reduce new infection and re-infection,” he said.
He talks about rectal microbicides any time he has the opportunity. He believes that we all have to integrate them into open forum discussion more to help lessen the stigma that surrounds them. The best way to deal with stigma is to face it head on.
Thanks George for all that you do!
[Posted February 2012]