An Anti-HIV Gel Could Save Millions of Women
Plus: It reduces the risk of genital herpes.
The battle against the global AIDS pandemic has been maddeningly slow for researchers, but tests of an antiviral drug in gel form show that it could substantially reduce the number of women who are being infected with HIV. Women make up half of the 33.5 million HIV-positive people worldwide.
Applying a gel made from the antiviral drug tenofovir 12 hours before sex and 12 hours after sex reduced women’s risk of getting AIDS by 39 percent, even if a partner does not wear a condom, according to USA Today. Women in a subgroup, who regularly used the gel, reduced their risk by 54 percent. The newspaper also reported that the risk of getting genital herpes was reduced by 51 percent.
USA Today reported that Quarraisha Abdol Karim, of South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal and the study’s co-author, said, “We now have a product that can potentially alter the epidemic and save millions of lives.”
The gel doesn’t provide 100 percent protection, of course. But it does give hope to women whose partners refuse to wear condoms.
In the U.S., the federal National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases is conducting a similar trial using tenofovir, but results won’t be available for another year. (USA Today)
Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.