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Will women use microbicides to protect themselves against HIV?
Date:4/19/2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Are women willing to use a vaginal gel to protect themselves against HIV infection? Researchers at The Miriam Hospital say that is the million dollar question when it comes to developing products known as microbicides that can prevent the sexual transmission of HIV.

Now the findings of a new study known as Project LINK could offer critical insight on user experience with topical vaginal gels information that could be used to develop microbicide products that optimize a woman's experience, ultimately leading to more consistent use.

Miriam researchers, led by psychologist Kathleen M. Morrow, Ph.D., examined how the formulation of a microbicide particularly the properties and characteristics of the gel itself relates to user experience. This information was used to show the range of different sensations and experiences reported by women when they use vaginal gels.

The findings were presented on April 17 at the International Microbicides Conference in Australia.

"Adherence and acceptability have been major challenges so far with microbicides," said Morrow. "But if we can develop a product that delivers an effective drug that reduces HIV infections and it's something that women can tolerate if not enjoy then the microbicide will have a greater impact on the HIV epidemic."

"It's incredibly important that scientists and microbicide developers hear the voice of potential microbicide users so they can use that information to make the best prevention products possible," she added. "That's how we will begin to have a fighting chance at stemming the tide of HIV and AIDS."

Microbicides are compounds in various topical forms, such as gels, creams, films and rings, that deliver specific drugs that protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Although a safe and effective microbicide has not yet been identified, a number of different microbicides are currently in development.


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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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