HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Gel Can Reduce Risk of HIV Infection by Nearly 40%

According to a story by the Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report

[a] microbicide gel containing Gilead's HIV drug tenofovir used by women before and after sex has been shown to reduce their risk of HIV infection by nearly 40%, according to a study unveiled at the International AIDS Conference-AIDS 2010, Reuters reports (Ingham, 7/19).

The Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) trial showed that the gel "curbed the risk of infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by 39 percent overall, but by 54 percent among those women who used it most consistently," Agence France-Presse reports (7/19). "The gel also reduced the risk of contracting genital herpes by 51 percent, a factor which could slow the spread of HIV even further, given that people with genital herpes have double the risk of getting HIV," according to the study, HealthDay News/U.S. News & World Report writes (Gardner, 7/19).

"The clinical trial of the microbicide – a 1% concentration of the drug incorporated into a colorless, odorless gel and distributed in a plastic applicator – was organized by the husband-and-wife team of Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim and Dr. Salim S. Abdool Karim of the Center for the AIDS Program of Research in Durban, South Africa," the Los Angeles Times reports.

As detailed in the study, published online Monday in the journal Science, researchers "enrolled 889 sexually active women between the ages of 18 and 40 in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal; about half received the gel with microbicide and half a placebo. The women were told to use the gel in the 12 hours before they expected to have sex and in the 12 hours afterward. The researchers collected applicators to monitor compliance," according to the newspaper (Maugh, 7/20).

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