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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid