Good news in the failed HIV trial

Published: March 2, 2015

New Vision
Hilary Bainemigisha
Original Article:

The disappointing results from a trial of a vaginal gel in South Africa will not disappoint researchers, a regional HIV prevention research expert, Dr Patrick Ndase said. Instead, it makes the ongoing trial in Uganda more hopeful for better results.
The trial that was expected to reduce women’s risks of contracting HIV from sex did not yielded good results, participants at annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle, US, were told on Tuesday. But, the researchers say, this was more to do with the behaviour of the effectiveness of the drug itself, Ndase, who is also the regional physician for Microbicide Trials Network and Partners PrEP Study, says.
The trial was conducted on 2,059 sexually active, HIV negative women, 18 – 30, in South Africa by the Follow-on African Consortium for Tenofovir Studies (Facts), a South African research consortium. Known as Facts 001, the trial was looking at the effectiveness of a tenofovir gel on the risk of HIV infection. It was launched in October 2011 at nine clinical trial sites in South Africa and concluded in September 2014 for laboratory analysis and the results were unveiled on Tuesday. 

Tenofovir, used as pills among discordant couples (where one partner is HIV positive and one is not) in Uganda and Kenya showed a 96% reduced the risk of HIV infection. Similar studies in UK and France among high risk men who have sex with men, showed a 86% reduced the risk.

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