Friday, September 19, 2008
Medical Reports: Chemical Condoms
More than 33 million people in the world are living with HIV and millions of new cases are diagnosed every year. In today's Healthcast, Christine Cruz shows us how some researchers may have found a new and improved way to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
WSVN -- As a single woman and the executive director of a large non-profit organization, Aisha Holmes is used to calling the shots.
Aisha Holmes, study participant: "I think I'm a 'I'm going to do what I want to do, when I want to do it' kind of person. I'm single. I hang out with my friends and take advantage of everything life has to offer around the city, for myself."
And researchers say this gel could be the key to a whole new kind of control for Aisha and millions of other women. It's designed to work like a chemical condom to block HIV.
Craig Hoesley, MD, Infectious Disease Physician: "I think we can look at it as an alternative to condoms, as a mechanism to prevent sexual transmission, and the benefits of this is that it could be something that is controlled by women, possibly even where their male partner will not even know they're using it."
The colorless, odorless gel contains Tenofovir, a drug approved by the FDA to treat patients with active HIV. In a recent trial, Aisha was one of about 200 other healthy women who used the gel daily or before sex.
Dr. Craig Hoesley: "No more women asking your partner if he was comfortable wearing a condom or the awkwardness of figuring out how to phrase it and ask. If you use the gel, you're in complete control of it."
So far preliminary studies have only found the gel is safe and easy to use. The next large scale study will show how effective it is in preventing HIV.
Dr. Craig Hoesley: "I think it could be important worldwide, United States but also in some parts of the world where women maybe are less empowered to ask their male sex partner to use a condom."
Aisha says for herself and women everywhere, the more options, the better.
Aisha Holmes: "It definitely represents choice and independence for women."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Troy Goodman, Public Relations