MAS was created in the summer of 1997 as a grass-roots citizen’s advocacy group supported by the City of Berkeley HIV Prevention Planning Committee (HPPC) in response to concerns about the increase in rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among certain sub-populations in our community and internationally.
MAS is a non-profit, grass-roots organization that advocates for the development of alternative methods for HIV and STD prevention, such as topical microbicides. We educate the public, policy makers, and research institutions about the urgent need for innovative prevention methods.
Our organization believes that the development and marketing of affordable alternative HIV/STI and pregnancy prevention methods, that can be used simply and in advance of sexual contact, and if necessary without the knowledge and consent of one’s sexual partner, can help reduce the number of new HIV and STI infections in the U.S. and internationally.
Recently MAS has become more involved in empowerment work. While user controlled methods would empower individuals with greater control over their sexual and reproductive wellbeing, without the skills to implement knowledge into action such methods may go unused once developed. With a small grant obtained from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) awarded to one of the members of MAS, MAS has begun a sexual and reproductive health empowerment program for high school girls at risk for adolescent pregnancy and HIV/STIs.
MAS is a project of the San Francisco Foundation’s Community Initaitive Funds, a campaign site for the Global Campaign for STI/HIV Prevention and a member of the Alliance for Microbicide Development . We are currently operated by a group of dedicated volunteers. We have an Executive Director, an Associate Director and six UC Berkeley student volunteer interns. MAS has both a community and scientific Advisory Board that is composed of advocates, scientists, community members, health providers, and UC Berkeley students.
To date MAS has operated on a voluntary basis and our activities have been primarily funded through the contributions of our members, Info Packet folders and stationary from the Global Campaign for HIV Prevention, and small grants from the City of Berkeley HPPC and the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Microbicide Development Fund (MDF).
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Microbicides as an Alternative Solution (MAS) works to improve the health of women and children through community-based reproductive and sexual health research, education, and program evaluation. A focus of our work is to educate public health practitioners, researchers, and the general public about the need for topical microbicides for HIV prevention and reproductive health, and to encourage policy makers to increase funding for the development of microbicides. We collaborate with non-profit organizations, academic research institutions and biotech companies to build a movement for microbicides development and use as well as other interventions that will improve the health of women and children.
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How can you get involved??
We need help getting the word out to health care providers, legislators, pharmaceutical companies, coworkers and friends about alternatives to conventional HIV/STI prevention methods.
* If you work in the field of reproductive health, AIDS, or human rights, please consider incorporating information on microbicides into your educational literature.
* Write a letter to your local representative urging them to support legislation to increase funding for microbicide research.
* Make a donation to MAS or other organizations working to bring greater attention to the need for microbicides
* Volunteer your expertise, time, and effort towards any of our projects. Please visit our projects page for more information.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.