US Senate increases microbicide funding for a total of $42 million

07/27/05

FY 06 Foreign Aid Bill advances support for USAID Microbicide Program

Washington, DC (July 27, 2005) In a show of increasing support for one of the most promising technologies currently in development in the fight against AIDS, the Senate approved $42 million for USAID to continue research and development of microbicides for FY 2006. The sum is a $12 million increase over the 2005 level, and $6 million above the amount approved by the House for FY 06. $4 million of the increase is designated for the International Partnership for Microbicides, with the remainder going to other USAID supported NGOs conducting trials of several promising microbicide candidates. USAID is currently funding four Phase III clinical trials to study the effectiveness of potential microbicides.

Microbicides are being developed to come in a variety of forms, including gels, creams, rings or a suppository, and would be used to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. A microbicide would offer additional support when used with a condom, but most importantly, microbicides hope to give women a tool to protect themselves when they are unable to negotiate condom use or ensure mutual monogamy with their partners.

Polly Harrison, Director of the Alliance for Microbicide Development said, " We've come a long way over the past decade, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated scientists, advocates, and the leadership of Representatives Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) in the House, and a growing number of committed Senators, especially Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Barack Obama (D-IL) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME)."

"The feminization of the epidemic calls for a comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS that includes behavior change strategies for prevention, treatment and care, as well as research into new prevention technologies that women can initiate and control, such as microbicides," said Lori Heise, Director of the Global Campaign for Microbicides.

Of the 14,000 people infected with HIV daily worldwide, half are women. In the United States, girls make up the majority of all new HIV infections among teenagers, with most acquiring the virus through heterosexual intercourse.

The microbicide field has built an extraordinary amount of scientific momentum, with several first-generation candidates entering large-scale human trials around the world. At the same time, new products, based upon recent advances in HIV treatment, are already well into safety trials. Given current scientific advancements, an effective microbicide could be developed by the end of the decade, and once available, could well change the course of the AIDS epidemic.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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