“The fact is, lots and lots of people have anal sex, and rectal microbicides just make sense in this context. This isn’t about being gay or straight or kinky or conservative. This is about the fact that people have sex in many different ways for many different reasons and everyone deserves to protect themselves and their partners from HIV and other STIs.”
Eva is an IRMA advocate from Minneapolis, MN who now lives and works in Chicago. She is a grant writer at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) – home of IRMA and Project ARM. Her efforts are a big reason IRMA and its initiatives, such as Project ARM, get funding to survive and thrive! Before this she was a Latin American Health Policy major and has travelled extensively through the region. She loves fried plantains, being a yoga teacher, and her book club!

Eva first became involved with IRMA as a grantwriting intern at AFC. She worked with Jim Pickett on a few IRMA grants and realized what an amazing advocacy group IRMA was! She has been on the listserv and looking for more ways to be involved since. Most recently, Eva attended the Project ARM meeting in Addis Ababa and provided critical on-the-ground logistics support. She says the meeting was successful beyond her expectations.

She is an advocate of rectal microbicides because the prevention options available today are not enough to protect everybody. “Rectal microbicides are important among new HIV prevention technologies not only because they would add to the diversity of prevention options, but because they would give people a way to protect themselves and their partners by building on a behavior that people already use during anal sex. Since a rectal microbicide might be developed as a lubricant, gel, or douche- and we know many people having anal sex use these types of products- they might be more acceptable prevention options,” she says. She also mentions that using these products could make anal intercourse more pleasurable, so adding rectal microbicides to them could really be very ideal!

Eva creates awareness of rectal microbicides by educating IRMA funders about their crucial role in combating HIV. She knows how important money is in the development of biomedical technologies and is excited about her role working with the key institutions that can provide it. Through AFC she also submits funding proposals for other great projects, such as female condoms, syringe exchanges, prevention justice advocacy, and more!

Eva encourages everyone to become an IRMA advocate. She says it is one of the most inspiring and rewarding aspects of her career, and she learns new things almost every day by reading the listserv. She understands that many people could face some stigma for supporting IRMA and rectal microbicides, but she knows it won’t go away until we keep talking about it and the world acknowledges sexual diversity. Her final advice for advocates: “Shine on, rectal stars!”

Thanks Eva for all that you do!

[If an item is not written by an IRMA member, it should not be construed that IRMA has taken a position on the article’s content, whether in support or in opposition.]