February 26, 2018 | Expanding Choices: A look into the Population Council’s Multipurpose Prevention Technology (MPT) Product Pipeline

IRMA and AVAC invited the Population Council to share information on how user choice and control inform the Council’s MPT product development strategy. The presentations were followed by a very interesting, robust discussion.


Tom Zydowsky, PhD; Senior Scientist, Director of Biomedical Research & Pharmaceutical Development, Center for Biomedical Research

Barbara Friedland, MPH; Associate II, Clinical Project Manager, Center for Biomedical Research

Moderator: Jim Pickett, IRMA


October 1, 2018 | Whose Choice is it Anyway?

IRMA and AVAC held a lively discussion on the BRAND NEW IRMA report titled: Whose Choice is it Anyway? Analysis of Comments to and Responses from NIH’s 2017 “Refining the Research Enterprise” Request for Input on Research Priorities. (How’s that for the longest report title in the world?)

Click here to read the new report Whose Choice is it Anyway?

As everyone in the field is aware, the NIH conducted an input process last year that concluded with a release of new HIV prevention research priorities that favor long acting, systemic formulations (like vaccines, implants and injectables) and negate the need for short acting, user-controlled, non-systemic approaches (like vaginal and rectal microbicides).

IRMA was curious about the input that was collected — did most scientists, advocates, and other stakeholders indeed prioritize long acting, systemic formulations, showing little to no interest in other approaches like microbicides?

We asked NIH to see the input that came in, and what their responses were – and they declined to provide that information. So IRMA’s home organization, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, filed a Freedom of Information Act request. And we received over 300 pages of input to NIH, as well as responses to the input from NIH leadership.

IRMA’s Marc-André LeBlanc and Jim Pickett shared the key findings from the analysis of those 300+ pages as presented in the report. They will outline next steps we can take collectively to help claim and ensure space in the research agenda for HIV prevention options that advocates and researchers want —options that can be used on demand, when, where and how individuals desire.

Special guests from the advocacy community made remarks. The Community Relations Manager at Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Ntando Yola provided his perspectives, and two young women, Irene Hware (Zimbabwe) and Sinazo Peter (South Africa) also talked about the input they submitted to NIH last year, in conjunction with other young African women. (Input that was ignored.)


September 17, 2018 | Swish or Insert Then Flirt: An update on rectal microbicides

People who engage in anal sex need HIV prevention options that they desire to use. Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a safe and very effective method to prevent HIV, but daily pill taking is not desirable for everyone.  New formulations of rectal microbicides are being developed and tested to fulfill the vital need for a non-systemic, short-acting product that can be used by around the time of sex.

Importantly, rectal microbicides embody an approach to HIV prevention that appreciates the spontaneous and pleasurable practice of anal sex.

Please join IRMA and AVAC for this global teleconference to learn about rectal microbicide studies underway and being planned that incorporate common anal sex practices, focusing on the development of gels, douches, fast-dissolving rectal tablets (inserts) and suppositories – options that recognize the complexity of sex, human nature, pleasure and HIV.

Presenters include José Bauermeister (University of Pennsylvania), Kenneth Ho (University of Pittsburgh) and Craig Hendrix (Johns Hopkins). IRMA’s Jim Pickett moderates.


June 6, 2018 | Will Rectal Dreams Come True?

Join Drs. Craig Hendrix (Johns Hopkins, Director of MTN’s Rectal Microbicide Program) and Alex Carballo-Dieguez (Columbia University) for this IRMA/AVAC webinar to learn about the latest biological, clinical, and behavioral data coming out of DREAM  (Development of a Rectal Enema as a Microbicide, a U19 project.)

Craig and Alex will be sharing new, compelling data that continue to demonstrate the biological, clinical and behavioral viability of a douche (enema) used as an on-demand, sex-associated, behaviorally congruent microbicide.

A safe, effective and desirable rectal douche would be an important addition to the prevention buffet that science and advocacy are building together. Maintaining promising research around a variety of modalities – options which can be short-acting or long-alcting, systemic or non-systemic, user-initiated or delivered in the clinic – is critical.

Will this rectal dream come true, or will it be deferred? IRMA’s Jim Pickett will provide some thoughts on advocacy and moving forward after the two presentations.



AUGUST 21, 2017 | We’re on our way: Moving forward on the rectal road – new drugs, formulations and modes of delivery

This IRMA/AVAC teleconference features Dr. Craig Hendrix (Johns Hopkins), Dr. José Bauermeister (University of Pennsylvania) and Dr. Kenneth Palmer (University of Louisville) presenting on the promising new rectal microbicide research that is currently underway – we have new molecules, new formulations, new platforms for delivery, and new acceptability explorations. Very exciting  stuff. On August 7th we glanced back at where we have been on this long and winding rectal road (see slides, recording below). On this teleconference we focused where we are going – where we need to go. It is this momentum we want to sustain. And it is the promise of a safe, effective, acceptable/desirable and accessible rectal microbicide for which we must fight – the future is not promised. And in fact, the future of microbicide research is in jeopardy – make sure the NIH hears from YOU on this matter.  Do you want an expanded toolbox with more than long-acting, systemic products that require substantial commitment? Do you want to help ensure short acting, non-systemic, topical products that don’t require such commitment are developed to meet the complex, dynamic, varied needs of a vast array of end users? Click this NIH link –  Refining the HIV Research Enterprise –  to learn more about the HIV prevention research prioritization process and the re-organization of the clinical trial networks. Then please leave your comments – the NIH needs to hear from YOU, early and often!

AUGUST 7, 2017 | Are we there yet? The long and winding rectal road…

Join IRMA’s Marc-André LeBlanc and Dr. Craig Hendrix of Johns Hopkins and the Microbicide Trials Network for this rollicking rectal recap. From the rectal dawn of research and advocacy til today, scientists and advocates have worked together tirelessly (and fiercely) to advance safe, effective, acceptable and accessible rectal microbicides for the men, women, and transgender individuals who want and need them. With threats to the microbicide field at large coming from multiple angles, this webinar will take stock of where we have been and where we are now in terms of rectal microbicide research and advocacy to help us chart our collective course forward. We seek to  ensure adequate, sustained resources for the development of user-desired, user-initiated, short-term, non-systemic, pleasure-enhancing HIV prevention options – including rectal microbicides.


PrEP in the Wild — A whirlwind tour of the who, what, where and how of PrEP use and provision outside of approval (2016; Ricardo Baruch-Dominguez, Nicholas Feustel, Jerome Galea, Brian Kanyemba, Will Nutland, Midnight Poonkasetwattana)


Developing Dual Compartment MPTs That Work Up Front and From Behind (2015, José Fernández Romero of Population Council)
Update on the RM Pipeline: New Agents, New Formulations (2015; Ross Cranston of MTN,Kenneth Palmer of University of Louisville, Craig Hendrix of Johns Hopkins)
MTN 017 – Evolution and Implementation (2015; Ross Cranston and Ian McGowan of MTN)
From the Booty’s Point of View : Using Perceptibility Data to Inform Rectal Microbicide Development (2014, Kate Morrow of Miriam Hospital and Brown)


The Latest on Lab Tests, Lubed Monkeys, and Lube-Using Humans (2014, Ellen Kersh of CDC, Kevin Rebe of Anova Health Institute, Pamina Gorbach of UCLA, Marc André LeBlanc of IRMA)
Pleasure, Protection, Love, Lust And Listening To Communities The Future of HIV Prevention is Here: A Webinar in Memory of Jeff McConnell (2014; panelists include Gus Cairns, Pedro Goicochea, Bob Grant, Suraj Madoori and Julie Davids)
Are Rectal Douches Ripe for Further Rectal Microbicide Exploration? (2014, Marjan Javanbakht of UCLA, Jerome Galea of IRMA-ALC)


VOICE – what are the implications for rectal microbicide research? (2013, Jeanne Marrazzo of MTN, Ian McGowan of MTN)