UNAIDS to conduct more trials on HIV prevention gel for women

New York- US (PANA) -- The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Friday said two further clinical trials were being planned for a vaginal gel that has shown potential in reducing the risk of HIV and which, if confirmed, would be a major breakthrough in protecting women.
UNAIDS had said that women make up about half of the people living with the viru s worldwide.
"The results of the first trial of the tenofovir-based gel, which were announced in July at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, must be c onfirmed before the product can be made available for general use," it said in a statement issued in New York, US.
The gel was found to be 39 per cent effective in reducing a womenâ?s risk of HI V infection during sex in a study completed by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPR ISA), a collaborative partner of UNAIDS.
It said: "At a meeting convened last week in Johannesburg, South Africa, by UNAI DS and the World Health Organization (WHO), experts proposed that further trials should determine whether different populations of women will have the same level of protection as seen in the CAPRISA trial.
" It disclosed that the CAPRISA study was conducted in South Africa with women age d 18 to 40 years who used the gel once during the 12 hours before sex and once during the 12 hours after sex.
"One of the next two studies will also take place in South Africa, and determine if the CAPRISA results can be repeated in a variety of settings with a populati o n that includes younger women," the statement noted.
It will also evaluate whether the gel can be used safely by sexually active 16- and 17-year-olds in settings where HIV incidence is high.
The other study will be conducted in other African countries and examine if a di fferent dosing schedule is safe and effective.
It will test if a single application of the gel before sex, or failing that imme diately after, is equally effective and safe as the original two-dose regimen.
"This promising tenofovir gel is a woman-initiated and controlled HIV prevention tool that could now be within reach," Catherine Hankins, UNAIDS Chief Scientifi c Adviser, said.
"Funders, advocates and scientists can work together to close the funding gap ra pidly, gather the evidence, and ensure that no time is lost in getting a safe an d effective microbicide to women," she added.

03 september 2010 19:42:00

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