Kenyan medics root for microbicides to reduce AIDS burden among women

2016-09-28 18:39:28 GMT2016-09-29 02:39:28(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NAIROBI, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- There is need for Kenya and bilateral partners to support clinical trials on microbicides in order to supplement existing HIV/AIDS prevention tools for vulnerable women and youth, medical researchers said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a forum in Nairobi, the researchers emphasized that microbicides that include gels, foaming tablets and vaginal rings have potential to reduce HIV infection significantly.

Dr Nelly Mugo, a reproductive health specialist at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) noted that microbicides are an effective tool for preventing HIV transmission among women if applied correctly.

"Development of efficacious microbicides will strengthen available interventions to reduce transmission of the AIDS virus to women and other high risk groups," Mugo remarked.

The Kenyan AIDS Strategic Framework launched in 2015 roots for research on new and cost effective methods to curb new infections and deaths arising from HIV linked opportunistic diseases.

Mugo said that additional funding and creation of a conducive policy and regulatory environment is key to boost research on new microbicides.

"Part of our health budget should be ring fenced to support research on microbicides," Mugo remarked, noting that Kenya could emulate South Africa to stimulate research on microbicides as a tool for reducing HIV infections among women, youth and same sex couples.

The research and development of microbicides that could be applied on the female genital tract to prevent HIV transmission intensified in the last decade.

Multilateral agencies, foundations and health advocates have endorsed development of microbicides that could be used by vulnerable women to block HIV transmission.

Dr Lillian Mokoh, a HIV/AIDS specialist at Kenya Medical Women Association (KEMWA) said microbicides could be a magic bullet in the war against a disease that affects African women disproportionately.

"Microbicides presents a new milestone in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa where women accounts for 50 percent of new infections as opposed to 16 percent among men," Mokoh remarked.

She added that women who experience sexual violence could use microbicides to prevent HIV transmission.