Hope for HIV cure

Due to rampant gender inequality, women in Africa are especially at risk of HIV infection. But there is hope on the horizon as researchers start testing a vaginal ring containing an antiretroviral drug called Dapivirine in Southern Africa.

International Partnership for Microbicides has begun trials among women from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Namibia. The results are expected in 2015.

Addressing participants at a Annual Partnership Meeting organized by Southern Africa AIDS Trust in Harare recently Dr Nyaradzo Mgodi from the University of Zimbabwe said: “Incidences of HIV in African countries are at an unacceptably high level. The current preventive efforts do not seem to reduce the rate. We have hope in the vaginal ring that contains the Dapivirine drug.” Dapivirine has been used to prevent HIV transmission between mother and child with good results.

The current study is recruiting 280 women and will evaluate the ring’s safety through blood tests, pelvic exams and interviews.

Jessica Mazoredze from Mutare said; “As an African woman I am very humbled to see HIV researchers working flat out to curb the spread of HIV. Poor countries will never be able to fully ensure the health of women and girls without first curbing the spread of HIV and AIDS.”

Francisca Muchemwa said biology and gender inequality continued to place women at greater risk of disease and death.

“African women are not in a position to control their sexual health or protect themselves from HIV infection. By empowering women with new tools to protect their health, this ring technology could bring hope where there was none before.”

Post published in: News
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