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Top Ten Wins #1: Woman-Initated Prevention Methods Offer New Hope Against HIV

Written By: Akimbo
December 23, 2010

 

Every year we do a list of Top Ten Wins for women’s health and rights. Check out all 10 on the blog, or download here.

More than 20 years ago, the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) convened 44 women from 20 countries who conceived of a substance, like contraceptive foam or jelly, which could be inserted vaginally to prevent HIV infection. We named it a “microbicide,” and set out to find scientists and money to develop it. Until recently, progress has been slow, but in July, results from a clinical trial in South Africa found a new gel to be nearly 40 percent effective in protecting women against HIV during intercourse.

What’s next: Making microbicides widely available to women will require political will and additional funding; donors have only committed about half of the funds necessary for follow-up research. While we will continue to advocate for further development, we must also help women protect themselves now through the only existing woman-initiated HIV prevention tool—the female condom.  In Cameroun, IWHC’s longtime partner Society for Women and AIDS in Africa-Cameroun (SWAAC) now distributes over 150,000 female condoms throughout the country each year—and intends to generate even greater demand in the future. Visit blog.iwhc.org/fc to learn more about female condoms, and to watch a video on female condom demand and distribution.

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