Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

02 December 2011

Rectal Microbicides & Africa: A Leap Forward

Original content from our Mapping Pathways blog team

Rectal microbicide advocacy has taken a huge leap forward this year, particularly in Africa. An excellent example of this progress is the International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA)-hosted Project ARM – Africa for Rectal Microbicides  meeting underway now  in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in advance of the ICASA 2011 conference. “I am so proud of the fact that we’re at a point where we can hold a two-day strategy meeting in Africa, focusing on rectal microbicides research and advocacy in Africa. That’s just huge. A few years ago this would have been impossible – people would have laughed at you for suggesting it,” says Jim Pickett, chair of IRMA, a Director at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and member of the Mapping Pathways team.

The rectal microbicides field itself is also expanding, as researchers continue to push boundaries. Until now, there have only been small-scale Phase I trials for rectal microbicides. This year the first Phase II trial was announced – an expanded safety study that will begin in 2012. “The trial will involve 200 individuals, which is almost double the total number of human beings who’ve been in rectal microbicides trials so far,” Jim points out. The study is going to be multinational, taking the research outside the US to countries like Thailand, Peru, and even South Africa.

“Not too long ago, saying rectal microbicides clinical research and Africa in the same sentence would have gotten a huge eye-roll. Now it’s real, it’s happening,” says Jim. “I think that says a lot about how advocacy and science together have elevated the field, creating a great deal of understanding and support for it.”

Stay tuned to the Mapping Pathways blog for news and updates from the IRMA meeting and ICASA conference in Addis Ababa.

Please note: Registration for the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, D.C. opened yesterday. Get the details here.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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