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New Gel A Possible Breakthrough In AIDS Prevention

This new product for women could be a major weapon in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

women_hiv

Photo: United Nations Development Programme

An administrator for the United Nations Development Programme speaks to a group of women at the Timbuktu HIV/AIDS clinic.

South African scientists who have been relentlessly searching for a way to quell the AIDS epidemic are finally seeing signs of hope.

The probability of women contracting the HIV infection can be cut in half  using a microbocide gel that is infused with an AIDS-fighting drug, tenofovir.

After one year of using the gel, a new study shows that a woman’s risk of contracting the virus was reduced by 50%. After two and half years of use, the gel had improved their chances by 39%.

That is great news, but it may not be good enough for approval in the U.S.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health have said that they would only approve a gel that is at least 80% effective in preventing HIV infection.

Further research is being done on the product, but scientists are optimistic that it can be improved to meet NIH standards.

Read More:

  • AIDS Breakthrough: Gel Helps Prevent Infection (AssociatedPress)
  • Effectiveness and Safety of Tenofovir Gel, an Antiretroviral Microbicide, for the Prevention of HIV Infection in Women (AAAS)

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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