Print 34 comment(s) - last by Denithor.. on Jul 22 at 10:18 AM

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Could contribute an almost 30-year campaign against AIDS

Researchers may have found a HIV preventative gel, which contains an AIDS drug already on the market, that could decrease a woman's chances of getting HIV in half. It was announced at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, but further testing is required to make sure the product is safe and effective. 

AIDS has claimed 25 million lives total, and 33 million more are infected by HIV. Of this total, two-thirds are from sub-Saharan Africa. In this area, 60 percent of new infections develop among women and young females. 

For years, the only way to prevent HIV infection was by the use of condoms and male circumcision, since the foreskin contains cells that are "vulnerable to penetration by HIV." But the latter only prevents HIV infection in males. 

The study was led by Quarraisha Abdool Karim and Salim Abdool Karim from the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) in Durban. It consisted of almost 900 South African women who were sexually active and between the ages of 18 and 40, where 444 received a placebo and 445 received the microbicide gel. It was conducted in both the urban setting of Durban and the rural setting of Pietermaritzburg in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

Over a three year period, these women were asked to apply the gel, which contains a mixture of antiretroviral drugs and a one percent formulation of tenofovir that interrupts the reproduction of HIV in immune cells, with a vaginal applicator within a 12 hour window before intercourse and within a 12 hour window after intercourse. They were then tested for HIV on a monthly basis. In comparison to the placebo group, those who used the microbicide reduced the risk of HIV by 39 percent overall. For those who used the microbicide more often, as directed, 54 percent of the risk of HIV was reduced. 

"Without this gel, we may see 10 women becoming infected in a year," said Salim Abdool Karim. "With this gel, we would see only six women becoming infected."

While no major side effects were observed over the course of the study, the gel did become less effective after 18 months of use, and researchers are looking into finding out why. Right now, they believe it may be due to the fact that 40 percent of the women "used the microbicide less than one time out of two." Also, they will continue testing the gel to make sure there are no long term side effects that will exist beyond a three year period. 

The study has been published in the journal Science and could prove to be a vital part of finding efficient, preventative ways to avoid HIV infection everywhere.

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RE: Meekly points out....
By Amiga500 on 7/21/2010 5:07:46 AM , Rating: 3
1) Many of those with AIDS issues are.

2) Am I right in saying only a condom burst will allow AIDS to transmit? The odds of which are what? 1 in 100 approx? So a condom would reduce the chances of infection by...9900%? Compared to the 100% reduction of this gel.

I'm not against the gel - no doubt future developments will improve its effectiveness and hopefully reduce its cost. I just don't see how it is a better option in either cost or effectiveness compared to what is currently available. Thus I don't see how it is going to make a significant impact... at least until the necessary improvements come along.

RE: Meekly points out....
By abscode on 7/21/2010 5:12:14 AM , Rating: 4
It give the prevention power to the other party. That's why it's important and that's how it can have an impact.

RE: Meekly points out....
By zodiacfml on 7/21/2010 6:23:08 AM , Rating: 2
he is right. Some guys refuse to use one when being asked by the woman.

RE: Meekly points out....
By Amiga500 on 7/21/2010 8:06:50 AM , Rating: 2
Well, if the fella doesn't respect the woman enough to adhere to her wishes for something like this....

The choice of what she should do is pretty clear.

RE: Meekly points out....
By clovell on 7/21/2010 11:29:59 AM , Rating: 4
Should? This is Africa, after all. 'Should' is hard to find in the lexicon. The highest rate of rape of any civilized country is in South Africa. The Janjaweed use rape as a method of terrorizing Sudanese civilians (although since the cease-fire was declared between the Khartoum gov't. and two of the main rebel factions earlier this year, this may be less widespread).

I'm not blasting you - I just want to point out clearly that women in Africa do not enjoy the same level of protection as most of us are used to seeing. It's barbaric and unjust.

RE: Meekly points out....
By Denithor on 7/22/2010 10:18:01 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. In many cases the woman has no means of defending herself against HIV, this potentially gives her a tool to do so that the man does not have to agree to use.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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