Microbicides: Giving Women Power Over HIV/AIDS

Safe and effective microbicides like a vaginal gel used around the time of sex or a monthly vaginal ring would address a central gaps in current HIV prevention strategies: the need for a discreet tool that women can use to take charge of their own health and protect themselves from infection.

Empowering Women With HIV Prevention Tools

Recent research has shown that antiretroviral (ARV)-based microbicides may offer women protection against HIV infection and potentially save millions of lives.

These products are based on the same types of ARV drugs being used to successfully treat HIV/AIDS and prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Complementing Existing Strategies

Microbicides would specifically address the needs of women in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas and complement existing HIV prevention methods when they can be used.

These include safe-sex education, male and female condoms, voluntary testing and counseling, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, safe blood supplies, voluntary medical male circumcision for the prevention of female-to-male sexual transmission, and, one day, a vaccine.

Protecting Women, Protecting Families

While no microbicide on its own will be a panacea for halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, development of safe and effective microbicides would expand the range of prevention options for women and magnify the public health impact of other prevention methods.

Ultimately, this is good news for everyone, because protecting women’s health means women can lead healthier, more productive lives, which benefits their families and communities, too.