By Lori L. Heise, C. Elizabeth McGrory, and Susan Y. Wood
In 1997, the Population Council and Women’s Health Advocates on Microbicides (WHAM) convened an international symposium to examine practical and ethical dilemmas in the clinical testing of topical microbicides. The symposium occurred as three significant trends in the history of women’s sexual health and rights converged: donors’ and programs’ growing commitment to reach beyond contraceptive delivery to address the full range of women’s sexual health needs; the emergence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as substantial threats to women’s health and well-being; and activists’ and scientists’ growing willingness to work together on issues of reproductive technology development. Consequently, the symposium both benefited from and advanced key historical currents that are redefining the boundaries between science, politics, and activism.
This report, published in 1998, are the key findings from the symposium.