New evidence into the factors that contribute to high rates of infection in women and girls in Africa that could lead to new treatment approaches was shared at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban.
Delegates were given insights into three studies by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). Salim S. Abdool Karim, director of CAPRISA, said: "Reducing new HIV infections in young women is one of the greatest challenges in Africa and called for evidence based research interventions to break the cycle of HIV transmission." The studies show promise for the future.
A new analysis of the landmark ASPIRE vaginal ring study reveals high levels of HIV protection among women who consistently used the intervention. A series of studies from the PROMISE trials provides encouraging data on options for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission during extended breastfeeding, but also raises concerns about treatment adherence and acceptance among HIV-positive women who had recently given birth. Another study shows high efficacy and safety of a simplified, fixed-dose combination regimen for treatment-naïve women.
Chris Beyrer, AIDS 2016 international chair and president of the International AIDS Society said: "Women (make up) the majority of adults living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and new infections among young women doubles that of young men in the region. These new insights pave the way to develop new prevention and treatment approaches that will protect the health of women, girls, and newborns."