Monday, November 28, 2011

Major Disappointment for AIDS Research

A microbicide gel that had once been considered a major mechanism for preventing AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa was reported to not be effective on Friday, and its clinical trial was canceled. The microbicide gel is a vaginal gel that a woman can place in her vagina prior to sexual intercourse. This was not only microbiologically intelligent, but also culturally sensitive because many women are not in a position to refuse sex or demand a condom of their partner in certain areas of the world where HIV runs rampant.

In 2010, a clinical trial of this gel was reported to be very effective, with almost 54% of infections being prevented. This trial's participants were divided into three categories: a control group, a group containing a pill of Tenofovir (the active drug), and the microbicide gel (containing Tenofovir and a booster drug). In September, the pill group was canceled because it, too, was shown to be ineffective.

It was shown that so far in this trial, 6% of women had become infected with HIV. While it is safe, just not effective, it ethically cannot continue.


No comments: