“Project ARM was started by the International Rectal Microbicides Advocates (IRMA) two years ago to make sure that as the HIV prevention field moves ahead for research and development of rectal microbicides, these products [when eventually made available] are safe, accessible, and affordable to the people who need them [in African context]. There was a realization that we need to do some specific work in Africa in context that there are many countries where anal sex is illegal, people can be prosecuted and there is lot of [anal sex related] stigma and discrimination too” said Marc-Andre LeBlanc, IRMA Secretary.
Added Marc-Andre LeBlanc: “We were inspired by the work of IRMA Nigeria. IRMA Nigeria was started in 2008. So it was obvious that some specific work could be done around rectal microbicides such as some groups have been looking at MSM issues in African context. Project ARM was born out of the growing need to create a research and advocacy agenda for rectal microbicides in Africa. Project ARM shows us what are the priorities in terms of research, advocacy and community mobilization around rectal microbicides in African context. One of the priorities that came out of Project ARM discussions was lube access. The reason was that people who practice anal sex cannot access lubricants. What makes us think rectal microbicides will be anymore accessible whenever introduced in future?”
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