Usability of vaginal microbicide for HIV may predict effectiveness
Even the most effective prophylaxis in the world won't make a dent in the rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if no one uses them. As such, experts at the Miriam Hospital are looking into whether women will be willing to use vaginal microbicides that kill HIV.
"Adherence and acceptability have been major challenges so far with microbicides," said lead investigator Kathleen Morrow, Ph.D. "But if we can develop a product that delivers an effective drug that reduces HIV infections and it's something that women can tolerate – if not enjoy – then the microbicide will have a greater impact on the HIV epidemic."
Researchers are currently working on developing effective microbicides, and many have come very close. Listening to feedback from women who are likely to use the product – such as though in high-risk regions, like the inner-city or developing nations – may help scientists develop a preventive drug that they will use.
Microbicides may come in gel, cream, film or ring form.
Men and women living in high-risk parts of the world should consider the tenets of safer sex: consistent and proper condom use and regular STD testing.