Microbicide gel reduces risk of HIV infection in women – Breakthrough research from AIDS 2010 conference

The Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) announced the ground-breaking results of a clinical trial of a new microbicidal vaginal gel at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna. The efficacy trial provides evidence that the antiretroviral-based microbicides can reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV and genital herpes in women by up to 50%. This could translate into preventing over half a million new HIV infections over the next ten years in South Africa alone.

The microbicide, which contains 1% tenofovir, an antiretroviral agent that is frequently used for therapeutic proposes, is the first antiretroviral-based microbicide that has been proven to prevent HIV infection in a clinical trial setting.

Microbicides could be considered effective prevention options for women, as they provide a female-initiated prevention tool for those unable to negotiate other forms of protection with their sexual partners. 

The results of the CAPRISA 004 trial were publicized at the XVIII International AIDS Conference; a biennial conference organized by the International AIDS Society, sponsor of the Journal of the International AIDS Society. World leaders including US President Barack Obama, former US president Bill Clinton, Archbishop Tutu and many more addressed the conference, calling for ongoing support of HIV and AIDS research.

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