VIENNA, AUSTRIA (July 20, 2010) Researchers have achieved an important scientific breakthrough in the fight against HIV and genital herpes with a vaginal gel that significantly reduces a woman's risk of being infected with these viruses. The results of the ground-breaking safety and effectiveness study of an antiretroviral microbicide gel study were reported today by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria.
The microbicide containing 1% tenofoviran antiretroviral drug widely used in the treatment of HIVwas found to be 39% effective in reducing a woman's risk of becoming infected with HIV during sex and 51% effective in preventing genital herpes infections in the women participating in the trial. Should other studies of tenofovir gel confirm these results, widespread use of the gel, at this level of protection, could prevent over half a million new HIV infections in South Africa alone over the next decade.
"Tenofovir gel could fill an important HIV prevention gap by empowering women who are unable to successfully negotiate mutual faithfulness or condom use with their male partners," said study co- principal investigator, Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Associate Director of CAPRISA and Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University. "This new technology has the potential to alter the course of the HIV epidemic, especially in southern Africa where young women bear the brunt of this devastating disease."
Tenofovir works by preventing HIV from growing inside human cells. Taken in pill form, tenofovir is a common component of various three-drug cocktails that are used to treat HIV infections. The new results now indicate that tenofovir formulated as a topical gel and inserted into the female genital tract also has great promise for use in HIV and herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) prevention.
The CAPRISA 004 trial of tenofov
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