Senate Appropriations Committee Passes FY 05 Foreign Aid Spending Bill and Includes $32 Million for Microbicide Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Alliance for Microbicide Development, the Global Campaign for Microbicides and the International Partnership for Microbicides announce today that the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2005 Foreign Operations bill to include a $10 million increase for microbicide research and development, bringing the total amount of yearly foreign aid dedicated to microbicide R&D to $32 million.  The International Partnership for Microbicides will be receiving $2 million of the increased funding.


"With a contribution of $2 million from the U.S. government, the International Partnership for Microbicides will be able to marshal more resources to accelerate its research and development program," said Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, CEO of the International Partnership for Microbicides.   "With real leadership and increased global investment, a safe and effective microbicide could be a reality for women in developing countries by the end of the decade." Even a partially effective microbicide could save over 2.5 million infections in three years time.


Recently named one of the "10 most promising biotechnologies for improving global health," microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women and their partners could apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections. Dozens of  candidate microbicides are in the pipeline and 16 are already in clinical testing, with 5 of those entering late-stage testing this year.


"No one can ignore the devastating impact that the AIDS epidemic is having on families, economies and whole societies around the world.  Alarmingly, the face of HIV and AIDS has become increasingly female as women now account for over half of the individuals

living with HIV and AIDS globally, and 60 percent of those in Africa," said Polly Harrison, director of the Alliance for Microbicide Development.  "Microbicides will empower women around the world in a way like never before by allowing them to protect themselves from HIV,  even in societies where they lack the economic or societal standing to control their sexual encounters."   


"We applaud the Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing the great promise of microbicides and for Senators Leahy and Corzine for their longstanding and tireless leadership in supporting this vitally important research," added Harrison. 


Lori Heise, director of the Global Campaign for Microbicides said, "This represents a stunning victory for citizen advocates throughout the United States who have worked hard to convince their representatives of the importance of expanding women's options for HIV prevention.  It is also an important step forward for the world's women, who presently must rely on men's willingness to use condoms or to be monogamous to protect themselves from HIV and other infections."


"We hope the new Congress that convenes in January will further their commitment by passing  the Microbicide Development Act which will give a substantial and necessary boost to the future of microbicide research,"  Heise continued.  The Microbicide Development Act would establish a Microbicide Research and Development Branch at the National Institutes of Health and strengthen microbicide activity at USAID and the Centers for Disease Control.. 


The Alliance for Microbicide Development is a global, non-profit organization whose sole mission is to speed the development of safe, effective, and affordable microbicides to prevent sexually transmitted infections, most critically HIV/AIDS. The Alliance envisions a world in which all individuals have the power and tools they require to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.


The Global Campaign for Microbicides is an international movement of activists, citizens and non profit organizations dedicated to accelerating access to new HIV prevention tools, especially for women.


The International Partnership for Microbicides was established to accelerate the development and accessibility of microbicides to prevent the transmission of HIV.  The organization's goal is to improve the efficiency of all efforts to deliver a safe and affective microbicides as soon as possible.