Microbicide Trials to Be Aimed at Women Due to Growing HIV/AIDS Impact on Female Population
July 14, 2004
As the HIV/AIDS epidemic increasingly impacts women worldwide, clinical trials of microbicides to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV will include women, and a product could be on the market in five years, Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of the not-for-profit International Partnership for Microbicides, said on Wednesday at the XV International AIDS Conference, Reuters reports. HIV/AIDS experts believe that a "partially effective" microbicide could prevent 2.5 million HIV infections over three years, according to Reuters (Reaney, Reuters, 7/14). Microbicides include a range of products such as gels, films, sponges and other products that could help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Although HIV is transmitted primarily through heterosexual intercourse in much of Africa and Asia, no female-controlled HIV prevention method currently is widely available (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/24). In addition, approximately 48% of adults living with HIV/AIDS worldwide are women, and 57% of people living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa are women, according to a report released on Wednesday by UNAIDS, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the United Nations Population Fund, according to a UNAIDS release. The report, titled "Women and HIV/AIDS: Confronting the Crisis," said that women ages 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are three times more likely to be infected with HIV than men of similar age. In addition, women in sub-Saharan Africa also know less about HIV/AIDS than men and women's knowledge about the disease is often "rendered useless" by discrimination and violence against women (UNAIDS release , 7/14). An effective microbicide would be important for women in resource-poor countries whose husbands refuse to use condoms, according to the New York Times (Altman, New York Times, 7/14). An effective microbicide also could help protect men who have sex with men against HIV infection, according to a UNAIDS release (UNAIDS release , 7/14).
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