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

Virginia Zalazar
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Virginia is a psychologist and social researcher at Fundación Huésped, an NGO that works in response to HIV/AIDS, both as an infectious disease and as a social challenge. Since 2007, she has been performing research studies focusing on microbicide acceptability with women, gay men, and transgender populations.

Virginia also coordinates workshops for serodiscordant couples, and conducts pre and post-HIV test counseling at a public hospital in Buenos Aires.

In her spare time, Virginia enjoys reading novels and science fiction books, travelling, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with her family and friends.

Virginia first got involved with IRMA at the 2009 IAS Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. She believes that rectal microbicides are important, as well as vaginal and other biomedical prevention methods, because sexual practices require different and suitable options for each individual separately. Virginia hopes that in the near future, drugstores, healthcare centers or hospitals will carry a variety of products that will promote sexual health and sexual pleasure.

Virginia advises IRMA to continue consolidating collaborative work, strengthening international relationships, engaging additional partners, and identifying existing and future research opportunities for the region.

Currently, Virginia is looking for funding to conduct a study focusing on the public health impact of PrEP, and the accessibility of treatment among transgender sex workers in Northern Provinces of Argentina.

Virginia was introduced to a number of partners connected with IRMA-ALC (IRMA’s South American chapter based at Epicentro in Lima, Peru) at the Microbicides 2012 conference in April. Less than a month later, she participated in a two-day strategic meeting led by IRMA-ALC and AVAC in Lima – with colleagues from Peru and Paraguay – to plan for expanded and improved advocacy around rectal microbicides, PrEP, sexual health and other LGBT issues. Click here for photos (on the IRMA ALC Facebook page) from the meeting. She is very excited about the possibilities this growing initiative will bring to the future of rectal microbicides and PrEP in the Latin American region.

Virginia has been influenced by her family, friends, colleagues, patients and activists. Her appreciation extends out to everyone who is passionate about what they do, and working towards a better future.

Thank you, Virginia, for all that you do!

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