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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

   


 

Microbicide research one step nearer to preventing transmission of HIV

Scientists, reporting in the journal Nature Medicine, believe they could be a step closer to developing a microbicide gel which can block the spread of the HIV virus.

The scientists applied a microbicide gel which contained a human antibody in the vaginas of macaque monkeys. They found that the gel protected the macaques from infection with the simian HIV virus for more than seven hours.

It is estimated there are now two million more women with HIV in Africa than men. This is despite the fact that Aids agencies believe that more than half of all women in sub-Saharan Africa tend to have only one sexual partner - most often their husband.

Specialists say that microbicides offer more choice and control than other HIV barriers. Among other things, they remove the stigma which is often attached to using condoms. Research has shown that women and their partners in both the developed and the developing world want this type of product for HIV prevention.

Some of the 60 compounds now being tested as possible microbicides can also be used as contraceptives, while others protect against sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhoea - which are growing problems in developed countries.