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Vaginal Microbiome Could Play Role In Women’s Susceptibility To HIV Infection, Studies To Be Presented At AIDS 2016 Show

PBS NewsHour: How vaginal bacteria could be stoking HIV cases and blocking prevention
“…At the International AIDS Conference in Durban …, researchers at the Center for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) will unveil startling new evidence of a bacterial culprit that could be responsible for as many as two out of every five new cases of HIV among women. They’ll also reveal how another bacteria blocks the effectiveness of [pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)] pills…” (Boerner, 7/18).

Science: Vaginal bacteria species can raise HIV infection risk and undermine prevention
“…The new findings all come from follow-up studies of women who participated in a PrEP study of a vaginal gel that contained the anti-HIV drug tenofovir. Conducted by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) based in Durban, the trial took place in a region where 66 percent of 30-year-old women are infected. … Until now, however, no one had clearly linked specific vaginal microbiomes to an increased risk of HIV infection. ‘Now we have actual data,’ says CAPRISA’s director, epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim…” (Cohen, 7/18).

Wall Street Journal: Studies Offer Fresh Hope in Fight Against HIV/AIDS in South Africa
“…The findings were striking, and could help chart a path to reduce the number of new infections in young women and girls — one of the greatest challenges for health officials combating HIV in Southern Africa, the epicenter of the global epidemic, according to Salim Abdool Karim, director of the consortium and leader of the research team. ‘These three studies give us new insight and new evidence in how to improve our HIV prevention program for women in southern Africa,’ he said in an interview. The research will be presented at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, on Tuesday…” (McKay, 7/18).