Life at ZS

Masoud Rezaee works to increase access to PrEP across India

By Kailah Peters

June 10, 2024 | Article | 4-minute read

Masoud Rezaee works to increase access to PrEP across India

At ZS, we believe that empowering communities is the key to improving health and well-being. With the encouragement of senior leadership and employee-led community groups like Pride@ZS, we foster an inclusive environment that not only supports our LGBTQIA+ ZSers but also extends our reach to broader community engagement. Because of these commitments, ZSers like Masoud Rezaee, a governance and risk analyst in Pune, can learn about different experiences, advocate for fellow ZSers and contribute to impactful collaborations with external organizations.

Where passion changes lives

Masoud joined ZS over a year ago as a contractor. “It’s an amazing organization,” he says. “I really liked the work and community. I was honored to join full-time.” Eager to immerse himself fully in both his career and ZS culture, Masoud explored various ZS-hosted events. “There was a lot of Pride@ZS programming happening during my early days,” he recalls.

Hoping to give back to his community and foster strong relationships with fellow ZSers, Masoud raised his hand to assist with Pride@ZS program management. His initiative and enthusiasm were warmly received, marking the beginning of an enriching journey. The team introduced him to Mist LGBTQ Foundation, an organization based in Pune that strives to foster support and development within the LGBTQIA+ community in India. Through its events and initiatives, Mist promotes LGBTQIA+ rights, provides safe spaces for social interaction, enhances awareness about the LGBTQIA+ community and advances acceptance and understanding in society.


ZS established a coordinated sponsorship with Mist to extend access to PrEP, an HIV preventive medication, to community members who need it most. The project wasn’t just about dispensing medication, but about educating community members, particularly the transgender community, about the benefits and usage of PrEP. To achieve this, ZS hosted an educational workshop at our office in Pune to address common misconceptions about the medicine, its usage and potential side effects. ZS also extended these educational efforts beyond our doors, educating people in our community to increase community awareness and participation.


“The educational workshops were really impactful for me,” Masoud says. “A lot of misinformation and gaps in knowledge surround this issue. Getting questions answered allowed me to help the community with greater compassion and awareness.”

Next, Masoud and his team worked to find participants for this medication access project. Finding the right participants for this initiative was challenging, due to misconceptions and bias. Stigma around HIV and treatment hinders our society’s ability to stop the spread of this infection using currently available medication.


Luckily, Masoud’s team had vast experience circumventing these challenges. He and his team treated this volunteer partnership with Mint like we treat client challenges—by deferring to research-backed strategies to reach a specific audience. The team met their targeted goals by implementing social media posts, dating app campaigns and more outreach to successfully connect with over 30 people interested in the program. To streamline the process, eligibility assessments were conducted before the official launch, allowing the team to narrow this list down to 10 qualified recipients.


“Nothing beats the glow of doing something good,” Masoud says. “We offered stipends to cover the cost of transportation and organized consultations with healthcare providers to conduct testing and STI treatment. Ultimately, we got to send people home with a month’s worth of medication and a lifetime’s worth of knowledge.”


In addition to our partnership with Mint, ZS held an internal global discussion on World AIDS Awareness Day 2023 focused on the stigma and misconceptions that affect many communities of individuals who could benefit from these drugs. The discussion highlighted our ongoing commitment and journey in addressing these issues, connecting various activities for greater impact. This evolving dialogue reflects our dedication to maturing our approach and making a meaningful difference in the lives of those we aim to serve.


These discussions and initiatives underscore ZS’s commitment to community health and preventive care, demonstrating a proactive approach in tackling health disparities. ZS and our Pride@ZS group continue to seek opportunities to support our local communities through client partnerships, pro bono work and volunteering.


As we push the boundaries of healthcare and strive to make meaningful differences in communities, we invite you to join us at ZS. Explore our open positions and follow us on social media to stay in touch.

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