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Disappointment and hope follow Carraguard failure

Organizations working in the field of HIV/AIDS are still hopeful that new HIV prevention methods will be found despite Carraguard’€™s disappointing results.

The audio is in isiZulu. See the English summary below.

MABUTHO: Usuku lwangomsumbuluko ntambama lufane nosuku olumnyama eNingizimu Africa. Lokhu kulandela isimemezelo semiphumela yeCarraguard gel, okunguketshenzi olufakwa esithweni sangasese somuntu wesifazane, obeluhlolelwa ukuvikela igciwane le HIV. Lesisimezelo senziwe ngu Dr Khatidja Ahmed obehola ithimba lososayensi ebebehlola lelikhambi.

DR KHATIDJA AHMED: The study showed that Carraguard was safe for vaginal use for up to two years. However, the study was unable to demonstrate Carraguard efficacy on male to female transmission of HIV.

MABUTHO: Lezindaba zokwehluleka kwalelikhambi ukubonisa izimpawu zokuvikela igciwane leHIV zifika esikhathini esithi asibe izinyanga ezinhlanu kumiswe ukuhlolwa kwelinye ikhambi ebelihlolelwa ukuvikela iHIV kuleli, iHVTN 503 ebelaziwa ngele ‘€œPhambili’€. Ukumiswa kwe HVTN 503 okanye I’€Phambili’€,  ukuhlolwa kwayo obekuthathwa njengokukhulu kunakho konke okwake kwenziwa ezwenikazi lase Africa, kube ngenxa yokwehluleka kwayo ukubonisa izimpawu zokuvikela iHIV ngesikhathi ihlolwa eMelika kanye nase Australia. Abantu abaningi bese bethembe iCarraguard njengoba ibisesigabeni sokugcina sokuhlolwa kwayo okungu Phase 111. Naphezu kokuba lona besekungumzamo wesibili esikhathini esingaphansi kwezinyanga ezinhlanu ukuhluleka ukuvikela iHIV izinhlangano ezizimele ezingekho ngaphansi kukahulumeni ezifana ne Treatment Action Campaign, elwela ukuba kutholakale amakhamb, ikanye ne Ipas South Africa, elwela amalungelo ezempilo abesifazane, zithi nakuba lezi kube izindaba ezimbi kodwa azikalilahli ithemba ngokutholakala kwekhambi le HIV. ULuckyboy Mkhondwane ukhulumela inhlangano iTreatment Action Campaign.

LUCKBOY MKHONDWANE: Njengenhlangano esebenzela amalungelo abantu abaphila ne HIV lezi izindaba ezibuhlungu, especially when it comes to indaba yama microbicides as sazi ukuthi ayikho enye indlela yokuvikela abantu besifazane ukuthi bathole iHIV ngaphandle kokuthi basebenzise amakhondomu. ‘€¦ Bekuyilo ithemba ebesinalo ukuthi uma iCarraguard inomphumela omuhle kungaba ne advantage kubantu besifazane bakwazi ukuthi bazivikele. Kodwa into esiyaziyo ukuthi noma ingasebenzanga’€¦ekuvikela iHIV sinethemba lokuthi asekhona amanye ama microbicides asazo develophwa azoba ngcono kunalena. Ngoba into esiyaziyo ukuthi ukuze kube khona ikhambi kumele kubekhona ama test nama trials amaningi ‘€¦ ngaphambi kokuba kutholakale azosebenza.

MABUTHO: UMosotho Gabriel ungumqondisi enhlanganweni yabesifazane eyaziwa ngele Ipas South Africa okuyinhlangano elwela amalungelo abesifazane kwezempilo. Uthi nabo lemiphumela ibashiye bephatheke kabi ngoba ukuba ibe mihle bekungeke nje kusizakale abantu besifazane kuphela ngoba nezwe lonke nalo belizosizakala.

MOSOTHO GABRIEL: If it could have come out positive it could have been victory for women. The reason being that there are lot of women who were going to benefit by not being infected with HIV. ‘€¦ It was also going to benefit the country in the long term in a number of areas.

MABUTHO: Njenge Treatment Action Campaign, uGabriel uthi unethemba lokuthi nakanjani liyogcina litholakele ikhambi lokulwisana ne HIV.

MOSOTHO GABRIEL: I have hope and I think it is what everybody, globally, is hoping for (that) one day we get either immunization or even a cure. I mean even if you look into history itself there were lot of diseases that used to be crippling (but) with immunization, at least, they were able to ensure that people stop suffering from those diseases. So, we hope that even with HIV/AIDS people can get either an immunization or a cure that, at least, people can stop suffering.

MABUTHO: UDr Ahmed uthi nabo njengawowonke umuntu baphatheke kabi ngemiphumela engemihle ye Carraguard.  Uthi kodwa bathatha lemiphumela njengegxathu eliya phambili njengoba kuningi abakufundile ngesikhathi kuhlolwa lelikhambi okuzosiza ekuthuthukiseni ulwazi lwabo kwezokucwaningwa kwamakhambi okuvikela iHIV.

DR KHATIDJA AHMED: A lot of people might view it as a setback for prevention options, especially in the South African context. However, we as researchers do not feel it is a setback, but rather that we’€˜ve gained so much information from this trial and it’€™s a step forward.

MABUTHO: Njengoba kuze kube manje lingakatholakali ikhambi lokuvikela igciwane le HIV kusho ukuthi abantu kusazomele baqhubeke nokusebenzisa lezozindlela ebebevele bezisebenzisa ukuvikela egciwane ezifana nokungayi ocansini, ukwethembeka kwabathandana nabo okanye basebenzise amakhondomu.

See the English summary below.

Disappointment and hope follow Carraguard failure

Organizations working in the field of HIV/AIDS are still hopeful that new HIV prevention methods will be found despite Carraguard’€™s disappointing results.

The news of Carraguard’€™s failure comes barely five months after the trials of the biggest HIV vaccine ever to be conducted on the continent, HVTN503 vaccine dubbed ‘€œPhambili’€, was stopped with immediate effect after its sister trials in the US and Australia found no protection against HIV infection.

According to the Carraguard principal investigator, Dr Khatidja Ahmed, the study ‘€œshowed that Carraguard was safe for vaginal use for up to two years. However, the study was unable to demonstrate Carraguard efficacy on male to female transmission of HIV’€.

Reacting to the news, Treatment Action Campaign Literacy Trainer, Luckyboy Mkhondwane, said: ‘€œAs an HIV/AIDS lobby group, we are deeply saddened by the news, especially because we know that if the results were positive it was going to be good news for women because they sometimes struggle to urge their partners to use condoms.’€

Mkhondwane is, however, positive that a solution to HIV prevention will be found. ‘€œWe still hope that there will be other better microbicides than this one. But we are aware that it might take years to find an effective medical prevention. And that will require more trials’€.

Ipas South Africa, an organization that works in the field of women’€™s health rights, also expressed disappointment at the results. Mosotho Gabriel is the group’€™s country director.

‘€œIf it could have come out positive it could have been a victory for women. The reason being that there are a lot of women who were going to benefit by not being infected with HIV. ‘€¦ It was also going to benefit the country in the long term in a number of areas’€, she said, adding that, ‘€œI have hope and I think it is what everybody, globally, is hoping for (that) one day we get either immunization or even a cure. I mean even if you look into history itself there were lot of diseases that used to be crippling (but) with immunization, at least, they were able to ensure that people stopped suffering from those diseases. So, we hope that even with HIV/AIDS people can get either an immunization or a cure that, at least, people can stop suffering’€.

Although it has yielded disappointing results, Dr Khatija Ahmed, the Principal Investigator in the Caragaurd study, says a lot has been learned from the study that can be used in the future.  

‘€œA lot of people might view it as a setback for prevention options, especially in the South African context. However, we as researchers do not feel it is a setback, but rather that we’€˜ve gained so much information from this trial and it’€™s a step forward,’€ said Dr Ahmed.

 

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