Hailed as one of the worlds most promising new HIV-prevention technologies at the 2004 Bangkok International AIDS conference, a microbicide could take the form of an anti-HIV cream or gel, or a longer-lasting vaginal ring. Experts predict that even a partially-effective microbicide could prevent 2.5 million infections over three years, significantly reducing the global infection rate among women. With an additional international investment of about U.S.$1 billion over the next five years, scientists predict a microbicide could be available within five to 10 years.
This investment by the Canadian government will allow IPM to screen potential drugs as microbicides and scale-up clinical testing to determine the most effective microbicide candidates, said Dr. Mark Wainberg, director of the AIDS Centre at McGill University and co-chair of the upcoming Toronto 2006 international AIDS conference. Microbicides will be a life-saving HIV-prevention option for women.
Around the world, more than half of all people living with HIV are women. In sub-Saharan Africa, three quarters of HIV-positive young people are girls, and young women are becoming infected at nearly twice the rate of men. In order to concentrate the worlds attention on this trend, the theme for 2004 World AIDS Day is Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS.
With this outstanding show of support, Canada takes the global stage as a leader for women in their fight against HIV/AIDS, said Marc-Andre LeBlanc, coordinator of the Microbicides Advocacy Group Network (MAG-Net), a Canadian coalition of over 30 NGOs and researchers interested in microbicides. Protecting and fulfilling the human rights of all persons to the highest attainable standard of health requires pro-active measures to equip people with accessible, affordable HIV-prevention tools that are fully under their control.
Microbicides are considered a promising way to protect women in developing countries, who often do not have the social power to insist upon abstinence or faithfulness with older, more powerful men -- including their husbands. In fact, for women in many parts of the world, being poor, young, and married are the most significant risk factors for acquiring HIV infection. In addition to these social factors, women are also biologically more than twice as susceptible to HIV as men from a single exposure.
CIDAs announcement makes Canada the newest government donor to the International Partnership for Microbicides. IPM was founded in 2002 with initial grants from the Rockefeller Foundation. IPMs support includes grants from the governments of the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark, as well the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank and UNFPA.
About the International Partnership for Microbicides
The International Partnership for Microbicides was established in 2002 to accelerate the development and accessibility of microbicides to prevent transmission of HIV. The organizations goal is to improve the efficiency of all efforts to deliver a safe and effective microbicide as soon as possible.
For more information, please visit IPMs website:
About the Microbicides Advocacy Group Network (MAG-Net):
MAG-Net is a coalition of 30 Canadian AIDS service organizations, sexual and reproductive health organizations, international development non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and researchers interested in promoting the development of alternative HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infection prevention options. MAG-Net is the Canadian arm of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, an international coalition of more than 180 NGOs worldwide that collaborate to build support among policymakers, opinion leaders, and the general public for increased investment in microbicides and other user-controlled HIV prevention methods.
SOURCE: International Partnership for Microbicides