The HIV prevention world is abuzz with excitement following news of the first clinical evidence that a vaginal gel – known as a microbicide – can help to prevent sexual transmission of HIV infection.

A study by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) found that a vaginal gel containing the antiretroviral (ARV) drug tenofovir was 39 percent effective in reducing a woman’s HIV risk when used for about three-quarters of sex acts and 54 percent effective when used more consistently. It also halved the incidence of genital herpes infections.

“Tenofovir gel could fill an important HIV prevention gap by empowering women who are unable to successfully negotiate mutual faithfulness or condom use with their male partners,” said Quarraisha Abdool Karim, one of the lead investigators of the study and associate director of Caprisa. “This new technology has the potential to alter the course of the HIV epidemic, especially in southern Africa where young women bear the brunt of this devastating disease.”

To learn more visit the following stories:
Scientific American: Vaginal gel shows effectiveness in preventing HIV in women
Science Express: At Last, Vaginal Gel Scores Victory Against HIV and Effectiveness and Safety of Tenofovir Gel, an Antiretroviral Microbicide, for the Prevention of HIV Infection in Women
New York Times: Study Offers Two Paths To Cut H.IV. Rate For African Women
Wall Street Journal Online: Gel Cuts AIDS, Herpes Risk For Women
Financial Times Online: HIV Infections Halved By Gel Treatment
Associated Press: Anti-AIDS Gel Helps Prevent Infection, Study Finds
Reuters: AIDS Gel With Gilead Drug Protects Women In Study and FACTBOX – Trial Shows An AIDS Gel Can Protect Women
Agence France-Presse: Major Step Seen In Quest For Anti-HIV Vaginal Gel
Aidsmap: Tenofovir-Based Microbicide Gel Reduces Risk of Infection for Women by 39%
BBC: Scientists Say Vaginal Gel Cuts HIV-Infections By Half
Washington Post: Vaginal Gel Cuts Risk Of HIV Infection, Study Shows
US News & World Report: Vaginal Gel Cuts Risk Of HIV Infection, Study Shows
The Guardian: HIV infection risk for women halved by gel – study and HIV breakthrough as scientists discover new vaccine to prevent infection
All Africa: Finally, Positive Results From a Microbicide Trial
CBS News: Anti-AIDS Gel Halves Infection Risk, Study Finds
Mail and Guardian: Aids infection risk for women halved by gel, says study
BuaNews: Study On Risk-Reducing Gel Welcomed