Carraguard Ineffective for Preventing HIV Transmission, Study Finds; Researchers Say That Microbicide Research Should Continue
December 9, 2008
The experimental vaginal microbicide Carraguard is not effective for preventing male-to-female HIV transmission, but researchers should continue efforts to develop a female-controlled HIV-prevention method, according to a study published recently in the journal Lancet, the Press Association reports. For the Phase III study, researchers Stephanie Skoler-Karpoff and Barbara Friedland assessed the efficacy of Carraguard, a compound developed by the Population Council based on carrageenan extracted from seaweed (Stone, Press Association, 12/4). Microbicides include a range of products -- such as gels, films and sponges -- that could help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other infections.
Although the authors called the results from the Carraguard trial and other microbicide efficacy trials "disappointing," they add that "the search for female-controlled HIV-prevention methods must continue." Willard Cates and Paul Feldblum of Family Health International in a commentary piece accompanying the study wrote that "no single approach" to HIV prevention "will suffice," adding that "partly effective prevention approaches" should be "bundled into packages targeted to specific populations." According to Cates and Feldblum, bundled approaches could include behavioral, biomedical and structural interventions that reinforce each other. "The cumulative influence of combination prevention is our hope for thwarting the spread of HIV," Cates and Feldblum write. According to the Press Association, women account for 61% of HIV cases in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest HIV/AIDS burden worldwide. In addition, among people ages 15 to 24, women account for 90% of new HIV cases (Press Association, 12/4).
An abstract of the study is available online. An extract of the accompanying commentary also 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.
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