Experimental Gel Shows Promise for Halting HIV Spread
Researchers in Africa and the US have developed an antimicrobial vaginal gel that shows much promise for halting the spread of HIV. The gel, known as PRO 2000 has been found to be thirty percent effective for preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in clinical trials.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. says, "Although more data are needed to conclusively determine whether PRO 2000 protects women from HIV infection, the results of this study are encouraging." This is the first study that explored the use of a gel or foam applied topically inside the vagina or rectum for halting HIV spread. The study involved 3,000 women.
Salim S. Abdool Karim, MBChB, Ph.D., from the Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa led the study. According to Karim, the development of a gel to prevent HIV provides…" a glimmer of hope to millions of women at risk for HIV, especially young women in Africa."
African women living with HIV represent almost sixty percent of adults infected with the virus. Nearly half of HIV infections occur in women worldwide
PRO 2000 may provide a viable means for women to protect from HIV, especially combined with condom use.
A Phase III trial is due for completion in August 2009, and includes 9,400 women. According to the researchers, if PRO 2000 gel proves to be 33% effective for halting HIV spread, the research findings would be considered statistically significant.