Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gel Protects Women from AIDS Virus

Illustration credit: www.iusy.org

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An Indevus Pharmaceuticals gel formulated to protect women from the virus that causes AIDS appeared to protect about a third of them from infection -- the first time a so-called microbicide has been shown to work, researchers told a conference in Montreal.

Dr. Salim Abdool Karim of the Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa and colleagues said the trial of 3,000 women showed the gel may have protected 30 percent of the women from infection" (Reuters, February 9, 2009).

If this gel is indeed the miracle drug, the elusive panacea, for this deadly disease, then maybe there is hope for millions of people. This is especially true for people of Sub-Sahara Africa, one of the worst hit subcontinents of the world. The statistics are mind boggling:

"Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for more than two thirds of all people living with HIV globally. Of the global total of 2.1 million adult and child deaths due to AIDS in 2007, 1.6 million occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007, declining from 2.2 million new infections in 2001. There are currently an estimated 22.5 million people living with HIV in the region" (quote from Reuters, February 10, 2009).

And globally the statistics are equally devastating as reported by Reuters:

"Some 33 million people were living with immunodeficiency virus infections in 2007, according to the United Nations report on the AIDS epidemic. As many as 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2007. Global deaths from AIDS reached an estimated 2.1 million in 2007."


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