Range of Experimental HIV Prevention Methods Could Soon Become Available, Many Countries Unprepared to Implement Them, Report Says
August 16, 2006
Although a range of experimental HIV prevention methods could be available within a few years, they might not reach those who need them because many countries are not prepared to implement the methods, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Global HIV Prevention Working Group at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, USA Today reports (Sternberg, USA Today, 8/16). The report also finds that there are many practical and ethical challenges impeding research into the new methods. The working group is made up of public health experts, clinicians, researchers and people affected by HIV/AIDS and is co-convened by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The report -- titled, "New Approaches to HIV Prevention: Accelerating Research and Ensuring Future Access" -- assesses the state of six new HIV prevention strategies -- including male circumcision; cervical barriers such as diaphragms; pre-exposure prophylaxis; treatment to suppress herpes, which increases the risk of HIV transmission by threefold; and HIV vaccines (Global HIV Prevention Working Group release, 8/15). Results from studies on microbicides and male circumcision are expected within five years, and some might be ready within one year (Altman, New York Times, 8/16). According to UNAIDS, about $11.4 billion annually will be required for HIV prevention by 2008, which is more than twice the amount currently being spent. In addition, more than 80,000 trial volunteers will be needed to test the new prevention methods, USA Today reports (USA Today, 8/16).
AIDS Advocates Shift Focus to Prevention
In related news, researchers, HIV/AIDS advocates and major donors at the conference have "agreed to a shift" to focus more on preventing new HIV cases, Reuters U.K. reports (Fox, Reuters U.K., 8/14). Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, on Sunday during the opening of the conference said the struggle to end HIV/AIDS must shift to focus on prevention (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/14). "Prevention of HIV has slipped off the agenda and now is being pushed by unexpected quarters," UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said in an interview, adding, "The problem with prevention for many is that you cannot avoid dealing with sex and drugs" (Reuters U.K., 8/14).
Kaisernetwork.org is serving as the official webcaster of the conference. View the guide to coverage and all webcasts, interviews and a daily video round up of conference highlights at www.kaisernetwork.org/aids2006. The prevention report was discussed at an official conference press briefing featuring former U.S. President Clinton, U.N. Special Envoy Stephen Lewis and Gayle.
The report 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.