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Next Generation Microbicides offer new New Hope for Womens Sexual Health

Saturday, March 8, 2008

On International Women's Day, 8 March 2008, the National AIDS Trust calls on Government and pharmaceutical companies to support trials of a new class of microbicides that could offer the greatest hope for women's sexual health in the 21st century. Existing methods of HIV prevention are failing millions of women, particularly in developing countries, where women often cannot negotiate condom use.

While trials of some early day microbicide candidates have ended without showing effectiveness, next generation microbicides offer new hope in 2008.  These new compounds, currently in trials, differ from earlier options as they specifically target HIV, use different delivery methods (such as a gel, cream, or vaginal ring), can protect for longer periods, and — most importantly — are based on proven antiretroviral therapies commonly used to treat HIV. 

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust, comments:

“Women are disproportionately affected by HIV globally, yet we still do not have a widely accepted female controlled option for women to protect themselves against HIV.  Next generation microbicides offer a real hope to empower women and reduce HIV as part of a comprehensive prevention package. 

“Government and pharmaceutical companies must make HIV prevention a priority and ensure that every necessary resource is harnessed to give next generation microbicides the greatest chance of success.”

Women and HIV

  • There are 15.4 million women living with HIV
  • 61% of adults living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to contract HIV from a single act of unprotected vaginal intercourse

Notes to the Editor:

The National AIDS Trust (NAT) is the UK's leading independent policy and campaigning voice on HIV and AIDS. It aims to prevent the spread of HIV, encourage early diagnosis, ensure people living with HIV have access to treatment and care, and eradicate HIV-related stigma and discrimination.