“Rectal microbicides are a very important new prevention technology. They bring attention to anal intercourse and provide protection for those who practice it, regardless of their sexual identities.”

Olumide is an IRMA advocate from Lagos, Nigeria. He works at TIERs (The Initiative for Equal Rights) for the rights of LGBT people and sexual health rights. He loves his job and the inspiring people he works with.

Olumide first became involved with IRMA when he visited the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) for a week and worked with the IRMA crew (IRMA is housed at AFC.). He joined the IRMA listserv and has since been following the conversations and information shared by members every day. At first he was not sure how this would be helpful to the people he serves in Nigeria, but now he says he sees how valuable rectal mircobicides can be for the gay/MSM community and others who practice anal intercourse.

Olumide was excited to participate in the Project ARM – Africa for Rectal Microbicides meeting held in Addis Ababa this past December, in conjunction with ICASA, which brought together so much expertise and many different community perspectives to help design a road map for rectal microbicides in Africa. He says that it is a long road ahead and implementation of the agenda will be difficult, but he is confident and knows Project ARM’s goals are “surely achievable.”

Throughout his career as an advocate he has faced much stigma and discrimination; anyone standing up for the MSM or LGBT communities in Nigeria does. Sometimes in Nigeria, people think IRMA is promoting homosexuality. Olumide has to fight this stigma as well.

His advice for IRMA is to continue promoting and educating people about rectal microbicides in Africa at the grassroots level, as the Project ARM meeting concluded.

Thanks Olumide, 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.]