African Scientists’ Search For Female-Controlled Microbicide Gel To Prevent HIV Continues

AllAfrica.com examines efforts by African researchers to develop a female-controlled HIV prevention method, writing, “[S]cientists searching for a gel or vaccine that can prevent HIV infection ride a rollercoaster of hope and disappointment.” The article profiles efforts by researchers from the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (Caprisa) to find a microbicide gel to protect women from HIV infection.

In a study announced at the 2010 International AIDS Conference, a tenofovir vaginal gel “was able to reduce sexual transmission of the virus by 39 percent overall and 54 percent in women who used it consistently,” the news service notes. “But the euphoria over this breakthrough has dissolved into disappointment,” with the November 2011 suspension of another study, the Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic (Voice) trial, in which the gel was used daily but was shown not to reduce the risk of HIV infection, the news service writes. According to allAfrica.com, “another trial is underway: the Facts study (Follow-on African Consortium for Tenofovir Studies), funded by the South African government, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” (Frederickse et al., 2/2).

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