Advocates Archive - S
[please choose the first initial of the Advocate's last name]
Jorge Sanchez, MD, MPH
IRMA Steering Committee Member
Currently the Principal Investigator at the Peruvian HIV Clinical Trials Unit, Dr. Jorge Sanchez is
a recognized international leader in the field of HIV/AIDS. In over 15 years of conducting studies
among MSM, female sex workers and the general population in Peru and other Latin American countries,he has demonstrated unwavering commitment to serve the populations most affected by the HIV epidemicand for fostering studies that are specifically relevant throughout South America. He is credited for creating a unique and unparalleled research climate for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment that has proven track record for enrolling volunteers.
During 1995-2000 Dr. Sanchez was the Director of Peruvian National AIDS Program within the Ministry of Health. In 2000 he established Asociacion Civil Impacta Salud y Educacion in order to investigate biomedical and public health issues around STDs, including HIV/AIDS. His interest in rectal microbicides has grown significantly over the years and reached its peak last
February when he was recruited to co-found IRMA-ALC. In the short time since then, IRMA-ALC has beenable to contribute to the main IRMA website and, more importantly, translate IRMA’s recent report “Less Silence, More Science” into Spanish (Menos Silencio, Mas Ciencia), which was launched at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico last August.
Along with staying in touch with other IRMA members through teleconferences and more direct communication, Dr. Sanchez is quite busy dividing his time between numerous organizations and committees he is involved in. In particular, he holds important scientific positions in connection with NIAID-sponsored HIV/AIDS scientific networks. He serves on the Scientific Steering Committee of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), is a member of the HVTN Risk Assessment Group and the Protocol Committee, and serves as the Co-chair of a multinational vaccine study. He also serveson the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) Performance Evaluation Committee providing unique input on the implementation requirements for complex clinical studies in resource limited settings.
[Posted March 2009]
"IRMA develops means and strategies for organizing advocates on this area of research and practice by pooling in people from all paths of life, and does offer a very sound platform for sharing views, opinions, and informing key stakeholders in the prevention-focused research and practice."
Maheswar Satpathy is originally from Bhubaneswar, Orissa in India. He now lives in Sydney, Australia. He is a trained clinical neuropsychologist, but his interests are broad, including HIV/AIDS prevention and health promotion. At present he is working towards his PhD in Health, Sexuality & Culture at the National Centre in HIV Social Research at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) on a prestigious AusAID's Australian Leadership Awards Scholarship. He is extremely involved in public health, devoting his time to national and international organizations across the globe.
Maheswar was introduced to IRMA by colleague and friend Jim Pickett. He was encouraged to advocate for more innovative bio-medical prevention strategies along with the psycho-social ones he has researched. He believes that rectal microbicides should be emphasized as an important method of prevention which can act as a catalyst in preventing diseases like HIV, and several other health risks like HPV and other sexually transmitted infections.
He is excited to act as an advocate for rectal microbicides and to teach the usage patterns, newer emerging technologies in developing but emerging countries like India, which has the 2nd highest population in the world. He plans to work on health planning programs for effective dissemination, contact key groups for outreach, and lobby for translational bio-medical research in the Indian research centers and universities.
A busy man, whatever free time Maheswar has is spent in reading more books of psychology and literature, advocating for human rights and health issues among the LGBTQI population, and networking among the Civil Society Organizations both in India and Australia.
[Posted August 2011]
Patricia became involved with IRMA (specifically IRMA-ALC) in order to explore new prevention strategies that would help decrease the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Peruvian population. To her, rectal microbicides represent an important priority as a new HIV prevention technology because little research has been done on the topic. “We do not fully understand what mechanisms can influence the prevention of HIV transmission through anal intercourse,” she says, emphasizing the need for more studies.
She is currently a research manager with Invetigaciones Medicas en Salud, INMENSA, an independent non-profit organization based in Peru. INMENSA is a founding partner of IRMA-ALC and spearheaded the effort to translate the "Less Silence More Science" report into Spanish. More than anything, Patricia understands that rectal microbicides should be further explored. Currently, feasibility studies have been implemented in Peru to get an overview of willingness to participate in preliminary studies for microbicides.
And while Patricia is an incredible, hard-working advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, don’t be surprised by the equally amazing guitar-playing skills she developed in her free time.
[Posted July 2008]
Chicago, Illinois, USA
“Stigma is only dispelled by shining a brighter light on it! We have to speak life and light with our words and actions. There is enough doom and gloom to impact everyone- and that is where stigma resides. But letting people know they have options, biomedical techniques for prevention, medications, possible vaccines, gathering more evidence, integrating creative research designs, etc. are all steps in the right direction. We must expect the impossible and believe in miracles!”
Yaa Simpson is an IRMA advocate from Chicago, Illinois. She is an Epidemiologist for the Chicago Department of Health and a Community Epidemiologist for TACTS (The Association of Clinical Trial Services). She loves to contribute to ideas and discussion about better research in the community, specifically HIV/STI prevention trials. She is also working towards her Doctoral Degree and hopes to one day conduct HIV prevention trails in Chicago.
Yaa first learned of IRMA when she was invited to a presentation on microbicides a few years ago. Here was introduced to Jim Pickett and his work with IRMA. She remembers Jim saying, “We all have opinions, like we all have booties!” She now is an active member on the listserv and enjoys IRMA’s blog and educational teleconferences.
She believes rectal microbicides are an important tool to add to the prevention technology toolbox, and acknowledges that we must develop technologies to prevent HIV spreading through any avenue, including rectally.
Her advice for IRMA is to continue to be involved with people who want to see change! “Talk to those who don’t want to hear about it and strategize with those who are looking for answers. Be diligent and be patient.” And if you ever feel discouraged or overwhelmed by the stigma associated with standing up for rectal microbicides, remember what Mark Twain once said: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
[Posted October 2011]
Aukland, New Zealand
Eamonn Smythe is the National Positive Health Manager for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, providing leadership for the foundation’s four regional testing, counselling, and support centres, as well as managing contractors and relationships with peer support groups, senior clinicians, and the pharmaceutical industry. Eamonn is also a member of the Treatment Officers Network in Australia, the Auckland District Drug Advisory Committee (Med Safe), and the Access to Medicines Coalition (ATM), and also holds an extensive clinical nursing background in a number of specialties in multiple countries.
Eamonn joined IRMA after attending the IAS conference on the pathogenesis of HIV in Rio de Janeiro in 2005, where he realized there was a sound clinical base for alternative strategies.
“Rectal microbicides are of particular interest in New Zealand context, as HIV in the country is transmitted via anal intercourse without the use of a condom, and primarily in MSM communities,” he says.
He also has time to coordinate the NZAF National Candlelight Memorial and each year develops the New Zealand theme for World AIDS Day. In his spare time Eamonn sits on the board of the local community centre and helps his daughter Ciar Daire (age 11) with her homework.
[posted February 2008]
Los Angeles, USA
Precious Stallworth was certified as a basic health worker and HIV pre- and post- test counselor in 1996. She became interested in microbicides in 1999 while working at Common Ground, the Westside HIV Community Center, and believes that this alternate method of prevention may be the answer to the problem of condom compliance, and could “create a significant shift in the epidemic, particularly for men who have sex with men.” The ease with which other products, such as douche or sexual lubricants, are incorporated into people’s sexual practices bodes well for microbicides. Precious also cites the lack of stigmatization of microbicides as another potential asset of this new prevention technology.
Her professional interests include HIV prevention, public health, and women’s health with an emphasis on lesbian health. Precious is currently the program manager for the Sexual Health Program at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. She also has a seat on the Los Angeles County Prevention Planning Committee and the deputy chair for the Office of AIDS Programs and Policy (OAPP) HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) working group. She is an assistant teacher with Antioch University’s LGBT specialization, and in her free time enjoys spending time with her partner and children.
[posted February 2008]
Charles Stephens coordinates an HIV prevention program for black gay men in Atlanta, is a member of the Prevention Research Advocacy Working Group (PRAWG) of the Community HIV/AIDS obilization Project, and contributes to LifeLube.org. With an academic background in gender and sexuality studies, he is a firm advocate for interdisciplinary approaches that view HIV from a scientific, cultural and social lens.
"I guess what I'm calling for is an increased interdisciplinary institutionalization of HIV prevention," he says. "It's bafffling to me the people I meet in Public Health and the related disciplines, that don't know Susan Sontag's "Illness as Metaphor," or Samuel Delaney's "Bridge of Lost Desire," - or Edmund White, Larry Kramer, Thomas Glave. It's impossible to have the proper intellectual tools to do HIV prevention research, especially behavioral, on say black gay men, without knowing Marlon Riggs, Essex Hemphill, Joseph Beam, Isaac Julien."
Charles was drawn to IRMA because of its stance on combined approaches to HIV prevention and the role it plays in building bridges between biomedical scientists and people working with and exploring gay men's sexuality.
"I am committed to embracing the possibilities of biomedicalprevention: microbicides, vaccines, PREP and PEP, though not blindly, and it seems to me IRMA is the perfect context to do all of this," he says, "All the while challenging the authority and privilege of biomedical science in gay men's sexual health!"
[Posted January 2010]
Moses Nsubunga Supercharger
“The task is hard but with determination we shall win together. Continue to keep the fire burning and remember it can even burn deep in the ocean.”
Moses is an IRMA advocate from Kampala, Uganda. He has been living with HIV since 1994 and is quite the superstar. He is a musician, radio host, TV presenter, actor, and activist who has a passion to fight HIV for people all over the world.
In 2000 he formed The Stigmaless Band- a music and drama group of adolescents living with HIV. Their objectives include encouraging early treatment, treatment adherence, and fighting stigma. The success of the band allowed Moses to collaborate with other community based organizations throughout Uganda and to eventually form a larger group called Joint Adherent Brothers and Sisters Against AIDS (JABASA). JABASA’s mission is to attain equal rights for minority and at-risk groups; to encourage early treatment for adults; and to help HIV positive Ugandans become financially self-sufficient by providing them with small loans to begin small income generating projects.
In 2009 he was contracted by USAID and The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) to host an HIV quiz game on television called “Everybody Wins When We Know the Facts about HIV.” As the show gained popularity and was being broadcast in more and more districts throughout Uganda, he was suspended from this work for opposing a law that he believed would criminalize and oppress minority groups if passed.
This did not slow Moses down! Since then he has become the manager of Searchland Shows, where he organizes music shows to advocate for treatment, condoms, and microbicides as prevention. He has also started an orphanage to look after the children of musicians who have died of AIDS. Currently he supports 34 children.
He believes microbicides have the potential to be one of the best prevention options available. He is very active on the IRMA listserv and always challenging opinions, asking questions, and striving to learn more.
[Posted October 2011]