Women Who Use Microbicides, Still Contract HIV Could End Up With Fewer Treatment Options Because of Resistance, Study Finds
July 9, 2008
Women who use microbicides in an effort to protect themselves from HIV could end up with fewer treatment options if they contract the virus because of possible drug resistance, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Reuters reports.
Rowena Johnston, director of research for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, said the study's findings are particularly "disturbing" for low-income countries, where there are few options for HIV/AIDS treatment. HIV-positive people who develop resistance may have few other affordable options, Johnston said, adding, "Finding an effective microbicide is going to be challenging enough. We don't want to compound that with the possibility of creating drug resistance." According to Johnston, trial researchers could use microbicides that contain drug combinations that would not promote the development of resistant HIV strains (Bloomberg/Long Island Newsday, 7/7).
The researchers also found that microbicides, which typically are aimed at protecting women from HIV, could be equally or more effective at protecting men. According to computer models used in the study, if and when microbicides are perfected, they could reduce the risk of men contracting HIV from women. "Paradoxically, although microbicides will be used by women to protect themselves against infection, they could provide greater benefit to men," the authors wrote. Because drug-resistant HIV often is less likely to be transmitted from one person to another, male sex partners of women who have developed resistance related to microbicide use might still be protected from the virus, according to Blower (Reuters, 7/8).
An abstract of the study is available online.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.