In the Middle East

2014

Collaborated with Dr Navid Madani, Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and AC member of GNR-MENA to shape her Science – Health – Education project, in partnership with Dr Fardad Doroudi of UNAIDS-Iran, with three specific aims:

  1. Increase effective HIV monitoring by training laboratory medical personnel in specific countries in the region (including HIV resistance testing, infant diagnostics, and basic laboratory practice), e.g. in Iran and other MENA countries

  2. Enhance scientific capacity and infrastructure by conducting workshops on scientific writing and early career advancement

  3. Decrease levels of stigma, including self-stigma, and discrimination by empowering people living with HIV, health care professionals, and the general public through community activities and engagement

  • These three aims have been developed and advanced through conferences, retreats and workshops in Iran, Malaysia, and Tunisia in the past two years. The plan is to increase coverage and implement similar work in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

  • In the context of the Science – Health – Education project we launched MENARAC, the Middle East-North Africa Research Advocacy Committee at its first retreat in Tunisia in October 2013

    • To improve the expertise of the laboratory personnel and the quality of their current equipment in order
to maximize available resources
both in-country and outside and ultimately design a laboratory training workshop that will address HIV viral load monitoring, HIV resistance among PLHIV, and infant diagnosis

    • To liaise with community members, international agencies and HIV officials to encourage community advocacy and government support:

      • To develop campaigns challenging HIV stigma, self stigma and discrimination

      • To advocate for unified, universal, safe data collection

      • To advocate for HIV testing – targeted and voluntary, with counselling

2015

In partnership with Dr Navid Madani (Harvard, USA) and Dr Fardad Doroudi (UNAIDS Iran) and Dr Renu Chahil-Graf, former UNAIDS Regional Support Team for the Middle East and North Africa

  • Utilise the Science – Health – Education project to expand the lab training and monitoring project developed in Iran to other countries.

    • Conduct an exploratory visit to Cairo, with support of the Ford Foundation, to explore training and education options there

    • Enhance scientific capacity and infrastructure by conducting workshops on scientific writing and early career advancement

      • Next scheduled for Tehran in Winter 2015

    • Develop an informal meeting of international gay men and trans* people with Iranian officials and Iranian counterparts

  • Host MENARAC steering committee meeting in February 2015;

    • Status updates on current work re: research and/or the region

    • Mapping of research-related resources in the region

    • Key issues in the region

    • Possible activities at IAS and ICASA to address those issues.