Times of India
19 May 2010
Try after try to make vaginal creams that could repel the AIDS virus have failed. Now researchers are testing if a drug used to treat HIV infection finally might give women a tool to prevent it– by infusing the medicine into vaginal gels and contraceptive–style rings.
Even quick–dissolving anti–HIV films are being created, the same style now used for breath–fresheners or allergy medicines but made for fingertip application in the vagina. Called microbicides, this kind of woman–controlled protection is considered key to battling the HIV epidemic.
For two decades, scientists tried less powerful medications in disappointing microbicide attempts. Results from the first study to see if this new strategy works– South African women tested a gel made of AIDS drug tenofovir– aren’t due until July. Tenofovir concentrates in vaginal tissue at far higher levels via a gel than a pill– with little spread of the drug elsewhere, easing side–effect concerns, says AIDS expert, Salim Abdool Karim, of the KwaZulu–Natal university.
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