POZ - XVI International AIDS Conference (2006) : IAC: AIDS Focus Shifts to Prevention - by Maggie Fox

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Back to home » Conference Coverage » XVI International AIDS Conference (2006)


IAC: AIDS Focus Shifts to Prevention
by Maggie Fox

August 16, 2006 (Reuters Health)—Circumcision, microbicides and drugs all offer promising new possibilities for battling the AIDS pandemic, but it will not be easy to roll out this arsenal of prevention methods, according to a report by the Global HIV Prevention Working Group, presented to the International Conference on AIDS.

The global HIV group is in a position to make some of its recommendations happen. Its members work at the World Health Organization, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission and the World Bank.

"This is really putting prevention on the map in ways that it hasn't been done before," Dr. Helene Gayle of the aid group CARE and an organizer of the AIDS conference, said in an interview. "Research on some of these approaches, such as male circumcision and diaphragms, could show results within the next two years," the report concludes.

No method would work on its own, but combining several could make a dent in the epidemic, the report says.

The United Nations AIDS agency UNAIDS estimates that $11.4 billion will be needed annually for HIV prevention by 2008, more than twice what is now spent.

"Despite the fact that some new HIV prevention methods could be shown to be effective in the near future, virtually no planning or resources have been dedicated to ensuring future access to new prevention approaches," the report says.

They include:

-- Circumcision: A study in South Africa showed circumcised men were 60 percent less likely than uncircumcised men to become infected with HIV from female partners.

-- Cervical barriers: Diaphragms and similar birth control methods might block the virus from reaching the cervix, the area most susceptible to the virus in women.

-- Pre-exposure prophylaxis with HIV drugs: Research in animals suggests taking one or two anti-HIV drugs a day could protect people at high risk of infection.

-- Herpes suppression: Herpes lesions facilitate HIV transmission, but herpes virus can be suppressed with several antiviral drugs.

-- Microbicides: Five promising microbicides are currently in late-stage clinical trials.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


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