Advocates Archive - Z
[please choose the first initial of the Advocate's last name]
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Virginia is a psychologist and social researcher at Fundación Huésped, an NGO that works in response to HIV/AIDS, both as an infectious disease and as a social challenge. Since 2007, she has been performing research studies focusing on microbicide acceptability with women, gay men, and transgender populations.
Virginia also coordinates workshops for serodiscordant couples, and conducts pre and post-HIV test counseling at a public hospital in Buenos Aires.
In her spare time, Virginia enjoys reading novels and science fiction books, travelling, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with her family and friends.
Virginia first got involved with IRMA at the 2009 IAS Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. She believes that rectal microbicides are important, as well as vaginal and other biomedical prevention methods, because sexual practices require different and suitable options for each individual separately. Virginia hopes that in the near future, drugstores, healthcare centers or hospitals will carry a variety of products that will promote sexual health and sexual pleasure.
Virginia advises IRMA to continue consolidating collaborative work, strengthening international relationships, engaging additional partners, and identifying existing and future research opportunities for the region.
Currently, Virginia is looking for funding to conduct a study focusing on the public health impact of PrEP, and the accessibility of treatment among transgender sex workers in Northern Provinces of Argentina.
Virginia was introduced to a number of partners connected with IRMA-ALC (IRMA's South American chapter based at Epicentro in Lima, Peru) at the Microbicides 2012 conference in Apri. Less than a month later, she participated in a two-day strategic meeting led by IRMA-ALC and AVAC in Lima - with colleagues from Peru and Paraguay - to plan for expanded and improved advocacy around rectal microbicides, PrEP, sexual health and other LGBT issues. Click here for photos (on the IRMA ALC Facebook page) from the meeting. She is very excited about the possibilities this growing initiative will bring to the future of rectal microbicides and PrEP in the Latin American region.
Virginia has been influenced by her family, friends, colleagues, patients and activists. Her appreciation extends out to everyone who is passionate about what they do, and working towards a better future.
Thank you, Virginia, for all that you do!
[Posted June 18, 2012]
Xiaoyan Zhang is a scientific researcher in Shanghai, China who has taken a vital role in the fight against HIV/Aids.
“The micro-environment and mucosal surfaces of the genital tract and the gastrointestinal tract are very different. It was reported that vaginal and intestinal macrophages display distinct phenotype and HIV-1 permissiveness profiles, therefore, it is necessary to establish rectal microbicides,” Xiaoyan says.
Xiaoyan got her was introduced to IRMA's work after attending the International Aids Society meeting in 2007. Since this meeting Xiaoyan has been working on rectal microbicide research, more specifically she evaluates the microbicide model system. As if this does not keep her busy enough Xiaoyan has also been actively working on HIV infection among MSM projects since 2005.
“Together with local CDC people, we established an MSM cohort, investigated the risk factors related to HIV infection, identified the prevalent HIV-1 strain, and characterized the subtypes and co-infections with HIV. We transferred the ideas from both behavior intervention and biomedical intervention strategies which should be implemented to control HIV transmission in the local MSM community.”
Through her advocacy at each scientific meeting and her relationship with MSM, Xiaoyan has begun to pave a significant path in the goal towards preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
[Posted April 2010]