Check out this interesting mini-bio of Wipas Wimonsate (Toon), the latest in IRMA’s “Meet a Friendly Rectal Microbicide Advocate” series on the IRMA website here.  Toon 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.

Wipas Wimonsate (Toon)
Bangkok, Thailand

“As nature is so diversified, why aren’t HIV prevention technologies as well? People have different preferences, needs, and capabilities. If we are to be successful in HIV prevention, we have to understand and accept the nature of people, and that is diversity.”

Toon is a medical and social researcher and community associate working with the Silom Community Clinic in Bangkok. The Silom Clinic will be a site for the Phase II rectal microbicide expanded safety and acceptability trial called MTN-017, which will be investigating a reduced-glycerin formulation of tenofovir gel applied rectally compared with oral Truvada among HIV-negative gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender women. His site is expected to begin enrolling volunteers in early 2013.

Outside of work, he enjoys playing badminton, reading, and watching television.

He first got involved with IRMA when he was asked to translate some materials on lubricant safety. “Safety of lubricants for rectal use: A fact sheet for HIV educators and advocates” is available in Thai thanks to Toon, as is the document Safety of lubricants for rectal use: “Questions and Answers for HIV educators and advocates.”

Toon believes that rectal microbicides provide a protective option for those who choose not to utilize a condom. He also recognizes that rectal microbicides offer a different manner in which to encourage sexual health, and that the endeavor to develop safe, effective, acceptable and accessibile rectal microbicides will be a major contribution to humankind.

Toon has worked closely on the soon-to-be-released IRMA video (“The Rectal Revolution is Here: An Introduction to Rectal Microbicide Clinical Trials”) being developed in partnership with the Microbicide Trials Network and Population Council. He is part of the team’s Video Advisory Committee and has provided invaluable feedback on content, messaging and language. Translating from English into Thai is rather complicated, and Toon’s guidance has been critical to ensure the team “gets it right.” He also facilitated the video segments that were recorded in Thailand, and worked closely on the Thai focus groups which were designed and implemented to test the “rough cut” of the video.

Toon was greatly influenced by Dr. Frits van Griensven, the pioneer of HIV studies among Thai gay men, other MSM and transgender individuals. He is very excited for the upcoming studies in Thailand, and is eager to work towards zero new HIV infections rate gay men, other MSM and transgender individuals, locally and internationally.

Thank you, Toon, for all that you do!

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