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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid