Nadir Cardozo, an HPTN 083 Community Working Group member, is part of the Community Participation and Social Research Team at Fundación Huésped in Buenos Aires. At the age of 20, Nadir had to migrate to Buenos Aires due to gender identity and stigma discrimination. Nadir is also an activist and trans-militant with the Association of Transvestites, Transsexuals, and Transgenders of Argentina (ATTITA).
What attracted you to a career in HIV prevention research?
In many countries, a part of society still does not have access to quality medical care. Those of us who are called ‘key populations’ often cannot access medical care due to structural barriers, which means that we often have late diagnoses, including diagnosis of HIV. I know there is still stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. Adding to other stigmas such as being a trans person, sex worker, or migrant is harmful to physical and mental health.
What would you say motivates you most to do what you do?
What motivates me the most is being able to offer a more caring alternative to my trans/sex worker clients. I continually educate the population about using condoms and lubricants to avoid HIV and STI infections. In Argentina, the prevalence of HIV among trans women continues to be around 34 percent, a very high number. For this reason, reinforcing my work in prevention with the use of a long-term injectable PrEP is highly beneficial because it will complement the use of condoms in those most exposed to HIV due to their sexual behaviors.
What has been one of the proudest moments as an HPTN member?
It is being able to share my work experience at different scientific meetings and congresses. At Fundación Huésped, we approach our trans study participants with love, dedication, respect, and empathy. This has allowed me to sensitize and raise awareness among HPTN study participants on how science can impact those who need it most. And above all, to tell the experience and significance of the role of peer navigators.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career? Why?
The most significant influence on my career is ATTTA, the Association of Transvestites, Transsexuals, and Transgenders of Argentina, an organization fighting for the rights of trans people since 1993. The work developed by Claudia Pía Baudraco as its founder and Marcela Romero as its president is inspiring. I have also worked at Fundación Huésped, a space that welcomed me with open arms, where Dr. Omar Sued and Dr. Ines Aristegui made me feel at home and shared their academic wisdom.
What inspires you?
My greatest inspiration is a world free from stigma and discrimination for being who you are, regardless of your gender identity, HIV status, or how you generate income. I hope the next generation can enjoy a pleasant sex life without fear or guilt, free of stereotypes and social mandates.
What advice do you have for new HPTN members?
Get involved and collaborate in everything that is at your fingertips. Being a member of HPTN is a great responsibility. Do not stay looking from the outside; enter and be part of the investigations and the thousands of people working to end the HIV epidemic.