Josias da Silva Freitas

Josias da Silva Freitas is a community educator and liaison for the Black community at the Instituto de Pesquisa Clinica Evandro Chagas (IPEC) CRS in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has worked at IPEC CRS since the early 1990s as part of the community education team recruiting and engaging populations deemed most vulnerable, especially the Black community, accessing, welcoming, and promoting HIV prevention and linkage to care. Josias also contributes to the development of strategies to support HIV prevention. 

What attracted you to a career in HIV prevention research?

In the early 1990s, I participated in the first HIV prevention study regarding men who have sex with men and then joined several non-governmental organizations.

What has been one of your proudest moments as a member of the HPTN?

To contribute as a community member to developing the first pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)  studies and implementing oral PrEP as a public policy in Brazil.

What has been the biggest challenge working in HIV prevention research?

To bring qualified and essential information to marginalized and peripheral populations, especially given all the fake news.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career? Why?

As a Black gay man living on the outskirts without access to information, being part of those initial HIV prevention studies motivated me to seek training to be a multiplier agent and community educator.

What inspires you?

To continue working with researchers with the hope of being part of the team to help discover an HIV cure.

What has been the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

To work with marginalized and peripheral populations living on the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic.