Since its creation in 2005, International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA) has seen significant growth and success. From a handful of advocates, IRMA has built a network of well over 500 advocates, researchers, and policy makers from 40 countries on six continents.
New name, new look, same goals Originally founded as the International Rectal Microbicides Working Group (IRMWG), the group re-branded our name at the end of 2007, created a new logo, and launched a new website (www.rectalmicrobicides.org). Amidst all this change, IRMA remains committed to the same goals we developed from our inception:
To advocate for accelerated research, development and access to safe, effective and acceptable rectal microbicides;
To promote rectal safety studies on all viable vaginal microbicide candidates;
To support, where appropriate, the research of other new prevention technologies, such as male circumcision, vaccines and oral prevention (prep), and to promote existing prevention methods such as male and female condoms as part of a range of prevention options;
To serve as a central forum for exchange, debate, and networking on rectal microbicides; and,
To convene diverse perspectives and scientific disciplines to improve understanding and action around rectal microbicide research and development.
Focus on safety - In these very early stages of rectal microbicide development, the primary focus of research is safety: examining the rectal safety of sexual lubricants (section 2.12), urging the collection of rectal safety data from late stage vaginal microbicide trials (section 3.1), determining the measures for assessing basic rectal safety (section 2.3), and of course, evaluating the safety of potential rectal-specific microbicides (sections 2.1 and 2.2).
We hope this document will:
Serve as an authoritative reference on recent developments and current efforts in rectal microbicide research;
Illustrate key advocacy goals and strategies;
Provide a description of the resources and activities of IRMA; and,
Inspire people working in hiv prevention, whether in advocacy, research, policy or funding, to become involved in rectal microbicide advocacy and research.