Leo Perelis, a member of the HPTN 083 Community Working Group, is a community educator at the Hospital Ramos Mejía in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since 1992 he has worked with people living with HIV and supported multiple HPTN, HVTN and IMPAACT studies, as well as the Dolutegravir and Darunavir Evaluation in Adults Failing Therapy (D2EFT) trial.
How did you first get involved with the HPTN?
In 2015, HPTN LOC staff invited me to attend an HPTN meeting and I was impressed by the high level of participation from the HPTN Community Advisory Board members. Community Advisory Board members.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do in support of the HPTN?
While I am passionate about science, the major challenge in prevention work is community engagement. Participating in a clinical trial is an act of solidarity. Promoting solidarity and commitment to others is key. It is a decisive step towards making our world a better place to live.
What do you think will change about HIV prevention over the next five years?
Science will find more and more answers for prevention by strengthening the concept of combination prevention. Each person will find the best strategy to prevent HIV according to their lifestyle, sexual identity, and economic and cultural status.
What do you wish other people knew about your work?
The Ramos Mejia Hospital HIV Unit has more than 20 years of experience treating people living with HIV. Knowledge acquired as a member of the HPTN has helped us improve our way of thinking and engaging the community. We had to get outside the hospital walls to show our work and make it known to a community that did not come to our site. The experience has been a success. We were able to be part of the city’s LGBTQ cultural program and get involved with local prevention organizations. The exchange has been very fruitful for all parties. They have been win-win experiences.
What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
I have studied psychology and philosophy, but one of my passions is playing jazz. I am a bass player in a jazz quintet in my city. Whenever we can, we play our music in bars.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I enjoy being with my children, my beloved, my family, and my friends. I like taking care of plants and my cat, whom I love. Moreover, I take care of my body by playing sports. I ride my bike to work, and on weekends, I row.