News / Africa

Clinical Trials To Go Ahead On Anti-AIDS Vaginal Gel

UNAIDS and the World Health Organization have agreed to hold two further clinical trials on a vaginal gel, which shows promise in reducing the risk of HIV.  Experts attending a meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa last week decided new trials should be conducted as quickly as possible to confirm preliminary hopeful results.  

Results of the first study on the vaginal gel created a lot of excitement when they were presented at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna in July.

Chief Scientific Adviser to UNAIDS, Catherine Hankins says the gel was found to be 39 percent effective in protecting women from getting infected with HIV.

And, she says, the women who were using the gel more than 80 percent of the time they were having sex, had a 54 percent protection.  "So, this was the first time ever that we have seen a positive result for a microbicide gel, which is a women initiated, women controlled product.  So, the concern was how to rapidly move to make this product available to women. And, the results of the meeting were a consensus that two confirmatory trials were needed.  And, these needed to get up and running very, very quickly," she said.  

Dr. Hankins explains every day that goes by, in which the gel is not available to women, about 2,500 more women get infected with HIV.

The World Health Organization reports about half the people living with HIV in the world are women.  In sub-Saharan Africa, WHO says more women are infected than men.  HIV is a major cause of maternal mortality.

Dr. Hankins says one of the new clinical trials will take place primarily in South Africa.  Sexually active 16 and 17 year olds will use the gel 12 hours before sex and once during the 12-hour period after sex to test its safety and efficacy against HIV.  

She says the second study will be conducted in other African countries.  It will test if a single application of the gel before sex or immediately after sex, is as effective and safe as taking two doses.

During the original trial, she says women were told to use condoms along with the gel when they had sex, to lower the risk of infection.  But, she notes there are times when using a condom is not desirable.

"When you are trying to get pregnant.  When you are not seeing your guy very often, it is obvious you need some other mechanism.  When we eventually market this, this will be marketed as something to be used with condoms and encourage male circumcision as well.  All the methods need to be used in combination.  That is why our basic message is combination prevention,"  Hankins said.

Nearly 20 years of research have gone into microbicides.  If confirmed, advocates say the tenofovir gel would empower women and allow them to protect themselves from HIV without requiring the cooperation of their male partner.

The first trials are likely to get under way early next year.  The next phase of the research is estimated to cost $100 million.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid