Monday, November 28, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board: Promising Anti-HIV Treatment Proven Ineffective



Your Black World reports:

Researchers in South Africa have pulled the plug on what, last year, was called a “promising” anit-HIV treatment.

In an experimental trial conducted last year, a vaginal gel containing the widely used AIDS medication, tenofovir, had successfully reduced the number of women at risk of contracting HIV by 39 percent. With consistent use, that number rose to 54 percent, The New York Times reported.

A follow-up trial concluding this month provided crushing results, finding that the drug was not so effective after all.

Over, 5,000 women from South Africam Uganda and Zimbabwe participated in the VOICE trial (Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic), Three sub-experiments were conducted and results compared against a placebo: the microbicide gel, a tenofovir pill and a Truvada pill (tenofovir and a booster drug).

The tenoforvir pill’s use in the study was halted by researchers in December because it proved ineffective. Six percent of women became infected with HIV while taking the pill --- the same level as the placebo.

Dr. Ian McGowan, researcher for the Microbicide Trials Network,hypothesizes that the issue might be attributed to inconsistency of use, dosage schedule or inflammation leading to easier entry by the virus, according to The Times.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health), the organization conducting the study, will continue with testing the third option, the Truvada pill, and will continue to monitor the heath of the participants:

They will then return eight weeks later for a final evaluation before exiting the study. At that visit, they will be given information about where they can continue to receive HIV testing and counseling, contraception and other medical and support services. Follow up for all of the VOICE study participants is expected to be completed in June 2012, with final study results anticipated in early 2013.

This is extremely disheartening news on the eve of World AIDS day, which is celebrated annually on December 1. It has been 30 years since HIV and AIDS began ravaging our communities and the fight lives on.

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