September #84 : Clit Club - by Emily Bass

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Table of Contents

This Face has a Message for the World

Lines Composed in a Looking Glass

The Problem with Protease

Lipo: The Latest

Parent Trap

What's Life Worth?


Wind Beneath Their Wings

Fuzzy Math:

Double Deal:

Getting Snippy

Creature Features

Clit Club


Safe Sucks:

Our Daily Med


Run Interference

Look, Ma, No KS!

Warts Up, Doc?

Thai Clip:

Only Connect:

False Alarm:

Tribute: Linda Grinberg

Bayou Blues




Back to Basics

Publisher's Letter

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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September 2002

Clit Club

by Emily Bass

It starred research doctors, not Hollywood divas, but May's Microbicides 2002 conference in Antwerp, Belgium, nevertheless served up some hilarious vagina monologues. The global gabfest on HIV-blocking gels and creams featured one scientist who pontificated about the physics of vaginal fluids, then blushed beet red at the mention of female orgasm. Another could refer to arousal only as "the good circumstances for sex."

Fortunately, most speakers left their squeamishness at home. A Texas researcher presented a sobering study of the attitudes of U.S. health-care providers who work with teens. They said they'd be unlikely to counsel girls to use microbicides because their clients have such a hard time taking the condom message to heart -- strange reasoning, since that's precisely why a noncondom option would be so helpful! More encouraging, Britain's Julie Pickering found that facing an HIV test wasn't a serious barrier to women's enrollment in a microbicide trial. This kind of finding -- that women can and will join trials -- is useful ammo against science-world skepticism about whether women in developing countries are willing to get tested for HIV and able to give informed consent and use microbicides correctly.

Lots of chatter could be heard on how to spread the word that the ubiquitous nonoxynol-9 spermicide actually expedites HIV transmission.

Overall, participants shared the sense that the decade-long fight to bring effective microbicides to market may have finally turned a corner. Next year marks the launch of two massive Phase III trials that together will enroll more than 17,000 women. And the conference was the coming-out party for the new International Partnership for Microbicides, an independent foundation that will dump resources and clout behind microbicide research and access.

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