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AIDS Study Runs Into Trouble in Nigeria

March 15, 2005

On Monday, Family Health International, a US-based nongovernmental organization, announced it has canceled its tenofovir trial in Nigeria due to the failure of local researchers to reach the necessary scientific standards. With backing from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, FHI has been coordinating the trial to determine whether the antiretroviral AIDS drug could also be used to prevent HIV in high-risk Nigerian prostitutes.

Wade Cates, FHI program coordinator, said the fate of another African trial was uncertain following a decision by Cameroon's government to suspend its tenofovir research given debate over the ethics of the study. Though FHI was considering increasing the number of patients in its Malawi and Ghana trials, Cates conceded the latest decision could jeopardize the statistical significance of the entire study.

Similar tenofovir trials in other countries are also running into problems. Last week, AIDS activists criticized a US CDC-run trial of injecting drug users in Thailand for not offering free syringes to reduce the risk of infection. And the US National Institutes of Health received a setback when a tenofovir trial it was planning in Cambodia was cancelled by local authorities.

The Nigerian Ministry of Health said Monday is was disappointed that the trial would not move forward but declined further comment. Though Nigeria's official HIV infection rate is considerably lower than that in many southern African nations, its large population means it likely has a greater number of infected individuals than any sub-Saharan African country after South Africa and Ethiopia.

Back to other news for March 15, 2005

Adapted from:
Financial Times (London)
03.15.2005; Andrew Jack; Michael Peel

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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