Black People : Microbicides Could Forever Change HIV for Black Women

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by MsInterpret, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. MsInterpret

    MsInterpret Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Apr 21, 2007
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    How Microbicides Could Forever Change HIV for Black Women

    by Akiba Solomon

    If you’re not directly involved in HIV/AIDS research, prevention or treatment, the word microbicide probably means as much to you as, say, integrase inhibitor S/GSK1349572. (For the record, that’s an anti-HIV drug that’s in clinical trials.) But, as Colorlines recently reported, microbicide researchers have brought us one step closer to an HIV prevention method that women can use—strictly on their terms. It’s potentially revolutionary.

    Scientists have been trying out different forms of microbicides for some 15 years. Those tests, which were publicly funded for the most part, have failed to stop HIV transmission. But at last summer’s International AIDS Conference, South African researchers unveiled a clear, odorless, flavorless gel form of the HIV-fighting drug tenofovir that women can insert into their vaginas with a plastic applicator. In their multi-year trial of nearly 900 sexually active South African teens and women ages 18 to 40, those who used the gel 12 hours before and after sex reduced their risk of contracting HIV by up to 54 percent. (The gel also reduced participants’ risk of contracting herpes by 51 percent; that’s important because having herpes doubles the risk of contracting HIV.) If a second trial is successful, microbicides could hit the global market as soon as 2014.

    That’s a scientific victory that’s been hailed as a potential turning point in the global epidemic, but it will also be of particular importance to black folks in the United States, who make up nearly half of all new HIV infections but only 13 percent of the population. And black women—who are most often infected through sex with men—are 15 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than white women. Among AIDS cases in women ages 13 to 24, black women make up a staggering 62 percent. This Monday was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is meant to call attention to these disparities.

    This year marks 30 years since this epidemic officially began. During that time, it’s become an increasingly black one for many complicated reasons. As Kai Wright wrote earlier this week, HIV preys upon poverty globally, and poverty rates are remarkably high in black America. So are rates for myriad other preventable health problems—why should we expect HIV to be any different? Studies have long established that black people overall have less access to care than other Americans, and that the care they get is poorer. That poor care echoes through HIV in many ways—less testing so folks don’t know they’re positive and, thus, are less likely to protect their partners; more undiagnosed STDs among young women in particular, which spikes the likelihood of HIV infection.

    Then there’s the tipping point theory. HIV, like other infectious diseases, spreads exponentially—in close-knit communities like many black neighborhoods, the more infection that’s out there, the more new infections there will be. And all of that’s before you get to the many social factors that conspire with poverty, incarceration rates and misinformation to fuel the fire.

    In short, black America could stand some help from prevention science. Enter, microbicides.

    “For 20 plus years, HIV prevention initiatives to address women’s and girls’ distinct vulnerability to HIV has been based on having them be ‘empowered [enough]’ to get their sexual partners to put a condom on a sex organ that is not their own,” says Tracie Gardner, the founder and coordinator of the Women’s Initiative to Stop HIV/AIDS NY at the New York City-based Legal Action Center. “Because this is inherently backwards, we should not be surprised that in 2011 black women and girls bear a disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS in this country and all over the world.”

    Black girls and young women are growing up in an era still defined by misinformation about sex—abstinence-only education alongside a hyper-sexualized media; the AIDS-as-chronic-manageable-disease assumption; the constant drumbeat about the threat of so-called “down low” black men; the related and ever-present cultural obsession with the alleged dearth of eligible black men. In this chaos, an easy-to-use HIV prevention method that doesn’t require sophisticated negotiation and communication skills is critical.

  2. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Oct 4, 2009
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    owner of various real estate concerns
    Unless poor white women in Eastern Europe, Portugal, Italy and Sicily are taking it,

    it doesntsound trustworthy

    If it's only given to Black women in Africa,
    then it sounds like eugenic