Wednesday, May 08, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
An invitee to present a paper on `Microbicides, new-fanged device to empower women in developing countries in HIV and STI prevention' at the world conference on microbicides being organised from May 12 and 15 at Antwerp by the American Foundation for AIDS Research, Dr. Surya Rao told a press conference on Tuesday that microbicides were poised to usher in a revolution in the global effort at prevention of AIDS.
According to him, 11 microbicide products were being tested on humans, of which six were in early stages where scientists were looking at safety and five were on large-scale trials.
``The trials would test a promising theory that women who use microbicide up to an hour before intercourse can block the HIV virus and prevent other sexually transmitted diseases,'' he said.
The HIV researcher described microbicide as a gel-like substance that could be applied to the vagina for killing, inactivating or blocking the HIV.
He said that the ongoing research aimed at developing both contraceptive and conceptive microbicides, the latter guarding women against HIV but allowing the couple to maintain their fertility.
The significance of microbicides, he pointed out, was that it finally offered women a method to prevent the spread of HIV. "Women are four times more likely then men to contract HIV if exposed through sex.
Current prevention strategies like condom require cooperation by male partners offering women the limited choice of influencing but not controlling men's sexual behaviour,'' he added.
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