The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: New Gel to Protect Women From HIV/Aids

Kigali — Prof. Joseph Vyankandondera, the Principle Investigator on HIV incidence at Project Ubuzima, announced last Friday that Tenofovir, a new vaginal gel microbicide could be one of the key ways to curb the spread of virus among females.

Project Ubuzima, a local organization that carries out clinical research on microbicides, recently recruited women volunteers to facilitate their research on Tenofovir . The Gel was referred to as "a new advance in HIV prevention" during the International AIDS conference in Vienna recently.

Tenofovir, believed to 39 percent effective in reducing women's risk of being infected with HIV, during sexual intercourse, is set to be released next year.

"If this method is proved to be effective, we hope women can protect themselves from HIV/AIDS infection using Tenofovir," Prof. Vyankandondera said.

The gel can be applied, 12 hours before sexual intercourse. It then prevents the HIV virus from starting the process of replicating its genetic material, thus saving a woman from acquiring the virus.

The ground breaking proof from a concept study carried out by Centre for AIDS Program of Research in South Africa showed that Tenofovir can become an important component in reducing HIV infection, particularly in women.

Vyankandondera said that the gel was also found to bear no side effects.

The event organised by Project Ubuzima brought together stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, University teaching hospital of Kigali (CHUK), CNLS and the international partnership for microbicide, Amsterdam. It was also attended by Evelyne Kestelyn, the Scientific Manager at Project Ubuzima.

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