SENSITIZATION PROGRAM FOR HIV/AIDS SUPPORT GROUP, SEX WORKERS AND SOME HEALTH WORKERS IN ALIMOSHO LOCAL GOVERNMENT, LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA.

IRMA NIGERIA organized a sensitization program on Microbicides development on the 6th of June, 2009.

Report by Kadiri Audu
IRMA Steering Committee member

Attendance:

HIV/AIDS Support group 32 people

Sex workers 20 people

Health workers 9 people

Total 61 people

Aim: To create awareness about Microbicides Development and to encourage the participants to get involved in the process.

Analysis: Questionaires were administered at the event to estimate the level of awareness of participants about Microbicides Development.

o 57% of the participants have never heard about Microbicides.
o 15% heard about it but require more information
o 15% heard about it but do not know what it is or how it works.
o While 13% are familiar with Microbicides development.

Some of the questions asked at the event were:
o When would Microbicides likely to be available?
o How much would it cost?
o Would it be supplied for free?
o How are trial volunteers recruited?
o What if I want to volunteer?

Outcome: The outcome was quite encouraging because all the participants showed a level of understanding and 38 people joined IRMA NIGERIA.

Presentation: The paper presented at the event is below.


PAPER PRESENTATION: MICROBICIDES SENSITISATION SYMPOSIUM

ORGANISED BY IRMA NIGERIA

WHAT IS MICROBICIDES?
Microbicides are products that could be applied vaginally and that would reduce the transmission of HIV during sexual intercourse. A Microbicides could take the form of a gel, film, suppository, sponge, cream, vaginal ring or other delivery method that releases the active ingredient gradually.

THE NEED FOR MICROBICIDES:
Giving women power over AIDS. The power for women to enjoy safe sex, without negotiating with a sex partner.

KEY ISSUES IN MICROBICIDES DEVELOPMENT:
• Timing – if the handfuls of Microbicides candidates that are currently in advanced clinical trials prove to be effective, a Microbicides could be ready by the end of 2010.

DRUG DEVELOPMENT:
Drug development generally, is a long and complicated process. It takes 10 – 15 years between discovery of a promising lead and its availability on the market.
• Many candidates fail before one ever proves both safe and effective.
• The development stage needs many different candidates which use different mechanisms of action.

MAKING MICROBICIDES AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE LIVING IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD:
• The Microbicides field is committed to making the product available to firstly, those who need them most.
• Public sector developers and advocates are working hard to ensure that innovative vaccines and Microbicides will be accessible and affordable to the people who need them most.
• It is possible that Microbicides would be licensed first in a country where HIV prevalence rate is high rather than countries with low risk.

NATURE OF CLINICAL TRIALS:
• Pre-clinical trials – This is a stage where identified Microbicides candidates pass through a series of rigorous tests in a laboratory and animals before they are allowed to be tested on human beings.

Clinical trials:
• Phase I – phase I trials are conducted to determine whether the product is safe if used by a small number of volunteer participants over a few weeks, usually 1-3 weeks with 20 – 30 participants
• Phase II – phase II also test for safety of the product but over a longer period of time and with a larger number of participants; 6-18 months, 200-400 participants
• Phase III – phase III trials measures effectiveness; that is weather or not Microbicides actually works in the course of normal use to prevent HIV and STIs. 1-2 years, thousands of participants are enrolled at this stage.
NOTE:
• Frequently, clinical trials need to be repeated to confirm their result or to test the findings in different population.
• The product must be reviewed and licensed for use by at least one drug regulatory agency.

RECTAL MICROBICIDES:
These are products that could be applied rectally and that would reduce the transmission of HIV during anal intercourse and prevent infection.

THE NEED FOR RECTALMICROBICIDES:
• Vaginal Microbicides might not be safe for rectal use
• There are people who engage in anal sex world over

ISSUES AROUND RECTALMICROBICIDES:
• Stigmatization
• Human rights
• Rectal safety of vaginal Microbicides