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How to stop the AIDS epidemic? / Annie Sneed

The next generation of preparations and devices to prevent HIV among women

HIV in the bloodstream. XNUMXD illustration: shutterstock
HIV in the bloodstream. XNUMXD illustration: shutterstock

Scientists now see HIV infection as a chronic disease and not a death sentence. This change is due to the success of the drugs from the ARV family that work against retroviruses (Antiretroviral) and stop the development of the AIDS infection (AIDS). In light of this success, the first priority now is the prevention of infection. The options available worldwide, abstinence, condom use and circumcision, are not enough and more than 6,000 people become infected with HIV every day. Moreover, these methods are more problematic for women, whose freedom of choice is limited due to their social and economic situation.

HIV kills cells of the immune system
To provide women with more accessible alternatives, scientists are testing a new class of antiviral drugs called microbicides that completely prevent HIV infection. Researchers have combined microbicides in a wide variety of preparations currently in human trials. "These products hold tremendous promise," says Robert Grant, an AIDS expert at the University of California, San Francisco. "I am optimistic and believe that we can eradicate HIV, after spending too much time searching for the holy grail: a single product that will prevent HIV. But it's not a one-size-fits-all case." And these are three alternatives of microbicides currently in development:
Fixed ring
A silicone ring that is placed in the vagina and releases the drug dapivirine from the ARV family for one month. Dapivirine is a substance that inhibits the reverse transcriptase enzyme and in this way inhibits the replication of the virus's RNA into DNA and inhibits its takeover of human cells. More than 5,000 African women are participating until 2016 in phase II of a clinical trial examining the effectiveness of the ring. If the ring is found to be safe and effective, it could be used as a means of killing two birds with one stone: researchers also incorporate contraceptives into the ring to prevent not only HIV infection but also pregnancy.

gel before sex
Tenofovir gel, another reverse transcriptase inhibitor, comes in the form of a tampon applicator that the woman is supposed to use before intercourse. The clear gel was the first microbicide to show a significant reduction in HIV in humans in a large clinical trial. In a study, in which about 900 women participated, the gel reduced the rates of intercourse by 54% among women who used it regularly. Researchers continue to test its effectiveness in nine locations in South Africa. The results are expected at the end of 2014.

Gel after sex

Raltegravir gel will one day offer what the others cannot: protection against HIV not only before intercourse, but also after it. Raltegravir inhibits HIV at a late stage in its life cycle, just before its integration into the human chromosome. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested the gel on cockroach monkeys in March 2014 and found it to be very effective in preventing infection up to three hours after exposure. If the preparation passes other tests and is considered a reasonable possibility, it can be used as a backup for women, especially after sexual assault.

The article was published with the permission of Scientific American Israel

3 תגובות

  1. Maya
    You are absolutely right. According to what is written there, a circumcised person will not be infected with AIDS. And that's just a lie. shame…

  2. I must say that I am a bit disturbed by the sentence:
    "The options available worldwide, abstinence, condom use and circumcision"
    Especially on this site.
    This sentence led me to long searches on the net for research proving that circumcision is indeed "an available option to prevent infection with the virus" and to the conclusion that it is simply not true. As a site that does a good job at all in presenting the exact scientific side against the twisting of the facts done by various religious parties, you messed up a bit here.

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