[Quick comment from IRMA – while we are delighted that rectal microbicide research and advocacy are covered quite nicely in this article, we would like to offer one correction. IRMA is referred to as the International Rectal Microbicide Working Group – a former, harder-to-say version of ourselves that we assigned to the dustbin at the end of 2007. We would also like to see, in future articles, the inclusion of men as end-users of microbicides. Both heterosexual and homosexual men will be using microbicides, after all, whether they are having sex with women or with other men.]
AIDS Research and Therapy 2008, 5:19doi:10.1186/1742-6405-5-19
Published: 15 August 2008


Recently revised statistics show the number of individuals living with HIV at over 33 million worldwide, with 68% being in sub-Saharan Africa. Current HIV prevention methods, such as condom use, monogamy and abstinence, are not always feasible. The need for improved HIV preventative technologies remains urgent. Of these, microbicides represent promising female-initiated preventative method. Microbicides are designed to be applied vaginally to prevent HIV and STI acquisition. Research is also being undertaken to assess the safety of the product during rectal application. The biannual Microbicides conference took place in New Delhi, India from 24-27 February 2008. The conference was open to delegates from the scientific and medical fields, as well as communities and advocates. In addition to microbicide research and development, the conference afforded the opportunity for the discussion of key issues such as ethics, acceptability, access, and community involvement. In this conference report we provide brief summaries of recent advancements made and challenges experienced in microbicide research and development, including updates on basic and clinical science, social and behavioural science, and community mobilisation and advocacy activities pertaining to clinical trials.

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