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.
-- 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.
NEW! If you don't understand one of the words in this article,
just double-click it.
A window will open with a definition from mondofacto's On-line Medical Dictionary. If the double-click feature
doesn't work in your browser, you can enter the word below: