AIDS Gels May Offer Women Protection

Annika Harris | February 10, 2009 - 8:30 pm

AIDS researchers are one step closer to finding another method of protection that can help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS among women. Dr. Salim Abdool Karim of the Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa and his colleagues have tested two protective gels, one called PRO 2000 and the other called BufferGel, in trying to find a microbicide (that’s the fancy scientific word for something that reduces the chance that you’ll be infected by a virus or bacteria) that will protect women from HIV/AIDS when their partners aren’t wearing condoms. Among the 3,000 women tested, PRO 2000 reduced the rate of HIV infection by a third. “We do not regard it as a definitive conclusion that PRO 2000 is a microbicide but we certainly view it as very promising,” said Karim at a conference of AIDS experts in Montreal. Unfortunately, his team was unable to find any evidence that BufferGel helped. The study was only designed to determine whether the gels were safe, since other, similar studies revealed that gels and creams like PRO 2000 and BufferGel actually increased the likelihood of infection. [Reuters]