Radka Badass | Mousepad
Feminist Mousepad with printed “Badass Feminist” quote.
1 EUR for each item will be donated to the association choosed by you. Thanks for helping.
Hi, I am Radka Argirova.
I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and I am a medical virologist.
In the early 1980s, the world was faced with a fatal disease that almost nothing was known about, AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). A condition that seemed to end patients’ resistance by exposing them to a wide range of infections and diseases. Two years after the first reported cases in the USA the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was identified as its cause.
This disease caused a wave of panic among the world’s population, but in Bulgaria, which at the time was a tightly controlled communist regime, it was described as a “gay disease” and as being a problem exclusive to the sinful West, even though people were dying in Bulgarian hospitals.
Although the Bulgarian authorities were not interested in studying this virus, I was!
In 1985 I went to Hamburg for a conference, and it was from there that I was able to bring this virus to Bulgaria so that I could study it and help save lives. At that time, we were living in the middle of the Cold War, so this was not an easy task. I brought the virus inside my handbag, disguised in some red bottles to look like wine.
The news quickly spread in my country and during the following months, I was the target of several interrogations. People from the Ministry of Internal Affairs asked me every day how I got access to the virus, what I intended to do with it, etc.
Fortunately, I found some allies among the communist authorities and eventually received permission to put together a team and set up a testing system. By 1986, 128 centers were set up across the country and 2 million Bulgarians were tested.
Later I was given the role of educating the public about HIV and AIDS, as well as educating for its prevention.
Today I continue to work in this area that I love, the most recent challenge being COVID-19.