Check out this interesting mini-bio of Rig Rush, the latest in IRMA’s “Meet a Friendly Rectal Microbicide Advocate” series on the IRMA website here.  Rig is one of the six new bios just posted the other day, including individuals from Thailand, Kenya and the US.  Each will be featured on the blog, and you can read all of them here right now.

Rig Rush
Los Angeles, California

“By promoting affirming messages that reinforce normalizing overall sexual health and awareness, you can inspire individuals who engage in anal sex to take ownership and accountability of their own behaviors; making confident and informed decisions. In my fierce opinion, that is the basis for HIV and STD prevention.”

Originally from Pittsburgh, Rig just moved across country to Los Angeles to become the new Community Mobilization Coordinator at the Black AIDS Institute. He has several interests including going to movies, amusement parks, and taking extremely long walks. He loves meeting different types of people and creating pleasant memories. He also happens to be one of the stars of the soon-to-be-released IRMA video called “The Rectal Revolution is Here: An Introduction to Rectal Microbicide Clinical Trials” being produced in collaboration with the Microbicide Trials Network and Population Council. In the video, Rig relates his experiences as a participant in a rectal microbicide trial with wit, warmth, and passion.

He believes that STD information, brochures and presentations focus on “drips, itches and stenches”. Based on the available information, Rig felt he was the only individual who passionately enjoyed receptive anal sex. He also found the small amounts of health-related information regarding anal health/enjoyment highly offensive. Given his frustration, Rig was overjoyed when he heard about the research study that “celebrated the bottom perspective” – the study he talks about in the video.

He acknowledges that “men love sex, and they love unprotected sex, but most men do not think about risk when the moment arises.” Condoms protect only when used consistently and correctly. However the concept of rectal microbicides “truly takes prevention and puts it where the rubber meets the road.” He finds microbicides in general (both rectal and vaginal) to be the best modern step to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic that isn’t gay specific. Rectal microbicides have the potential to have a vast and appealing impact on the community collectively.

Rig’s advice for IRMA is to remain consistent and committed to promoting awareness and education about rectal microbicides and health. He feels that “the information one obtains from IRMA is very beneficial for the collective gay community.”

He will soon be a featured speaker in the satellite session “Rectal Microbicides: Making HIV Prevention Gel” at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC with other members of IRMA and allies. The session is taking place in the afternoon on Sunday, July 22, 2012. More info on this event can be found here.

He works to motivate, inspire and unite gay black men and other men who have sex with men around a variety of issues, and continues to support and celebrate black gay men regardless of their HIV status. He strives to help others live productive, informed and authentic lives filled with healthy connections and relationships.

Rig’s mother has had the deepest impact on his life. She is his symbol of strength, compassion and authenticity, which shaped Rig into the man he is today. His mother’s fearless, positive and audacious appreciation for life ignited a fire that continuously resonates.

Thank you Rig for all that you do!

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