HIV/AIDS advocate cautions against early celebration

Dr. Leacock

VIENNA, Austria, CMC- The Executive Director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership (CBMP), Dr. Allyson Leacock, is cautioning against celebrating the “major breakthrough” announced by researchers of a vaginal gel that could reduce HIV infections by nearly 50 per cent in women.

“Anything that allowed our women to feel empowered to make independent decisions and to be able to be in control of their lives without having to negotiate with other for their own health and safety is laudable,” she told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

“I think we have to be cautious to ensure that the confirmatory studies are done before we jump too high in the air, but I think it’s a good indication of where we can go. I am certainly going to be very
interested in the next step,” she added.

Researchers attending the International AIDS Conference 2010 (AIDS 2010) here say they have developed the gel that could substantially reduce the rate of infection among women.

The Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) released the results of a trial conducted on the effectiveness and safety of the vaginal microbicide, Tenofovir, gel at the conference.
Epidemiologist Dr. Salim S. Abdool Karim said that the results were encouraging and could be the start of a cure for the deadly HIV virus.

“Our findings showed no substantial safety concerns, no Tenofovir resistance, we found safety for the Hepatitis B infected women. We’ve shown a 51 per cent reduction in HSV-2; we’ve seen a 39 per cent
protection against HIV overall and 50 per cent protection in HIV after one year of Tenofovir gel use. In women with high adherence, we showed 54 per cent effectiveness,” Dr Abdool Karim told a news conference.

Significantly, the researchers say the gel has also cut in half the chances of individuals getting herpes simplex virus (HSV), which increases the vulnerability of individuals to HIV infections.
“We take the view that this study is the first step. Additional studies are urgently needed to confirm and indeed to extend the findings of this study for safety and effectiveness. Once confirmed and implemented, Tenofovir gel has the potential to alter the course of the HIV epidemic.
“Mathematical the findings show …and from our estimates … that if we would implement Tenofovir gel in a way  similar to the way we did it in the trial, we could prevent 1.3 million new HIV infections and more
than 800,00 deaths over the next 20 years in south Africa alone,” he added.

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2 Comments

  1. October 8, 2013

    We appreciate all who are engaged in the battle against HIV/AIDS and are thankful for the progress that has been made.

    Each new discovery gives fresh hope. The key words at this time seem to be “cautiously optimistic”. AIDS victims are suffering less and living longer. For this we are grateful. However, the war must be fought on many fronts. It is not going to be won by medicine and education alone.

    The new Gel would provide 50% protection against HIV and limited or no protection against other sexually transmitted infections. What it is likely to produce is a false sence of security.

    In some nations the highest rate of HIV is found among gay men. The increase among women is found mostly among those who were infected by husbands or boyfriends who are bisexual or prostitutes who had relations with bisexual clients.

    HIV is only one of the health risks involved in homosexual relationships and the gay lifestyle. Yet there is no great effort being made to get this information out to the public by either governments nor the churches. People must realize that homosexuality is a sin. As long as there are those who take the position that God Almighty – the Creator – has no right to tell them how to live they are going to have major problems.

    Given the fact that there is no risk of HIV infection in a committed mongogamous marriage why is more money and effort not being given to teaching and promoting the policies of abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage?

    When evangelical Christians speak out on these issues those who want to rule their own lives and do their own thing refer to us as religious fanatics or the Christian right, etc. But what we have is a quality of existance that only comes by living under the lordship and rule of Jesus Christ. It is something we would not trade and something we want to share!

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Pentecostal Evangelist.

  2. only
    July 22, 2010

    Don’t count your chickens before they hatch and don’t believe everything the drug companies tell you. Follow the money.

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