Microbicdes only part of the agenda
HIV prevention researchers, policy makers and community advocates from more than 35 countries will meet in Pittsburg, USA for the 6th International Microbicides Conference (M2010) at the end of the month.
Lisa Rosi, director, communications and external Relations for the Microbicide Trials Network said the meeting would not be restricted to microbicides research but would offer a wealth of information on HIV prevention.
‘Unlike previous meetings, M2010 will encompass a broader spectrum of HIV prevention research and related topics, hence the theme Building Bridges in HIV Prevention. In addition to discussing the latest research on microbicides ‘ substances designed to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV when applied topically on the inside of the rectum or vagina ‘ M2010 will also be a forum for discussions on male circumcision, pre-exposure prophylaxis and vaccines,’ said Rosi.
Over a thousand delegates are expected to be part of the gathering. Most of them work on the front lines of the pandemic in areas ravaged by HIV. The meeting will take place from 22-25 May.
The scientific program will include six invited plenary and state of the art lectures, cross cutting symposia on emerging issues and trends in HIV prevention and over 500 oral and poster abstract presentations displaying original research.
Some of the research finding and topics to be covered through the four day meeting include
· Results of the first clinical trial to evaluate the safety of a vaginal microbicide in pregnant women and findings from a large prospective study in seven African countries looking at whether pregnancy can increase the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV.
· Results of studies looking at the behavioural and biological factors that may help explain why HIV rates are so high among men and women who engage in unprotected receptive anal intercourse. These include studies looking at the effects of different over-the-counter lubricants on HIV risk and research focused on the development of rectal microbicides.
· New research aimed at expanding the pipeline of antiretrovirals (ARVs) for prevention, including results of the first primate study evaluating an integrase inhibitor as a topical microbicide. ARVs are drugs used in the treatment of HIV, and ARV-based prevention approaches are being tested in several ongoing clinical trials, with results of completed trials expected in the coming months. One concern is that these studies all involve the same drug. The challenges and promise of ARV-based strategies are key issues to be discussed.
UNAIDS reports that 33 million people are infected with HIV worldwide, 15. 7 million of them are women. A total of 2.3 million adults were infected with HIV in 2008. An estimated 7 400 people are infected with HIV daily. Only 4 million people are currently receiving antiretroviral treatment and for every two people initiated on treatment five are infected with HIV.
According to UNAIDS microbicides and preventative vaccines could offer hope for the sustained control of the HIV epidemic, especially marginalised and vulnerable groups.
For more information on the conference visit: www.microbicides2010.org