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International News

Bill Gates Donates Millions to AIDS Research Project

May 6, 2003

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has granted $28 million to a southern African AIDS initiative that will examine the effectiveness of latex diaphragms as a preventive measure for HIV/AIDS and other STDs.

The initiative is a joint effort by the South African Medical Research Council, the University of California-San Francisco, the University of Zimbabwe and U.S.-based Ibis Reproductive Health.

Gita Ramjee, head of the MRC's HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Unit, said trial sites would be set up in Umkomaas and KwaXimba in KwaZulu-Natal and Harare in Zimbabwe with an additional trial site still to be determined.

Ramjee said a study to assess the acceptability of the latex diaphragm had been done in Zimbabwe and women were found to be enthusiastic about the product. But Ramjee added that while studies have been done to test the latex diaphragm as a contraceptive, no studies have been done to test it as a prevention method for HIV/AIDS. "Current research suggests that the port of entry for HIV is through the woman's cervix. We feel that if we cover the cervix with a diaphragm, then perhaps we can reduce the risk of women acquiring HIV," she said.

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Ramjee said women would initially be taught how to insert the diaphragm and would then return to the site every three months to be tested for HIV/AIDS and other STDs. The study, which will take four years to complete, will start in September and will involve 4,500 women from southern Africa, including 1,400 from KwaZulu-Natal. "If the product shows effectiveness, we hope that it can be marketed at a reduced cost or offered absolutely free of charge," Ramjee said.

Back to other CDC news for May 6, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Sunday Times (South Africa)
05.04.03; Ilse Fredericks

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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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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