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Study of microbicide gel shows reduced risk of HIV and herpes infections in women
Date:7/19/2010

ir gel involved 889 women at high risk of HIV infection at an urban and a rural site in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Overall, 98 women out of the 889 became HIV positive during the trialwith 38 in the tenofovir gel group and 60 in the placebo gel group. Out of the 434 women who tested negative for herpes at the start of the trial, 29 became infected in the tenofovir group and 58 became infected in the placebo group. The reduced rates of HIV and herpes infections among the women who used the tenofovir gel are statistically significant.

"Tenofovir gel has a potential dual effect in preventing HIV. Since women with genital herpes are much more likely to become infected with HIV, the additional protection of tenofovir gel against herpes creates a second mechanism whereby the gel may have a bigger impact in preventing HIV," said study co-principal investigator, Dr Salim S. Abdool Karim, Director of CAPRISA and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. "The trial results are a significant first step toward establishing the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs for HIV and genital herpes prevention; confirmatory studies are now urgently needed."

During monthly visits, all participants were provided with HIV risk-reduction counseling, condoms and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and each was clinically examined for potential side effects and tested for HIV infection. The study was double-blinded and neither the researchers nor the participating women knew whether a woman in the study received tenofovir gel or placebo gel. Women in the study were advised to use the gel up to 12 hours before sex and soon after having sex for a maximum of two doses in 24 hours a dosing strategy referred to as BAT24. Participants used the gel for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two and a half years. The trial team observed no substantive safety concerns from use of the gel. Further, no increase in risky behavi
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Contact: Annette Larkin
larkinannette@yahoo.com
703-772-6427
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Source:Eurekalert

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