News / Africa

    HIV Trial Yields Disappointing Results

    AVAC Executive Director Mitchell Warren.  (De Capua)
    AVAC Executive Director Mitchell Warren. (De Capua)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Joe DeCapua
    A large-scale HIV prevention trial among African women has yielded disappointing results. But the outcome may be more the fault of behavior than the prevention methods used in the study.

    The trial is known as VOICE. The results were announced at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta, Georgia.


    Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a non-profit HIV/AIDS advocacy group, said the study centered on PrEP, or preexposure prophylaxis.

    “Voice is actually a clinical trial that has been running for the last several years. It actually stands for Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic. It was a very elegantly designed study that was looking at three different possible options to help women in Africa prevent HIV infection and funded by the National Institutes of Health in the U.S.; and conducted with over 5,000 women in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Uganda.”

    The prevention methods used in the trial were a daily oral dose of tenofovir, a daily oral dose of a combination pill known as Truvada and a daily one-percent vaginal tenofovir gel. In previous studies, these methods were shown to provide some protection. However, in Voice, the results were disappointing.

    “They were disappointing and pivotal studies are not just ones that tell us the answers we want. A pivotal study is one to help give us answers to the questions we have. And this study showed that none of the three study products provided additional protection. They were safe, but not effective,” said Warren.

    Warren said, however, the products only have a chance of being effective if they’re used as prescribed.

    “Perhaps the most important finding was that although women came back to the clinic every month and were dedicated to the trial, the majority of these women didn’t actually take the product in the end. And it really tells us a great deal that even though bio-medically these interventions work, they only work if they’re used. Ad the behavior is actually even more important than the bio-medicine. Voice confirms for us that these studies are actually more behavioral studies even than bio-medical studies,” he said.

    Taking one pill a day or using a vaginal gel once a day appears to be very easy and convenient. But Warren said that the African women in the study did not respond.

    “One of the things with HIV is that although obviously it’s a terrible disease, you don’t see it at immediate times when you’re about to have sex. You’re thinking about sex. You’re thinking about pleasure. You’re thinking about a relationship. You may not be thinking about the virus itself. And one of the things, I think, this trial is telling us, too, is that while women may be at risk of HIV, they may not perceive themselves on a daily basis to be at risk,” he said.

    Warren said one of the things African women are very concerned about is contraception. Future research, therefore, could involve combining birth control pills with an antiretroviral drug. He said that the VOICE study tells researchers they must listen to what women have to say and give them something they’ll use.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora