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HIV prevention is about having options. Microbicides must be among them.
The term “microbicide” refers to substances being studied that could be used in the vagina and/or rectum to reduce the risk of HIV infection via sexual exposure. There are no licensed microbicides available today. Vaginal and rectal microbicides could help address some of HIV prevention’s greatest unmet needs. Millions of women and men today lack the power to insist that their sexual partners use condoms or other available prevention strategies. Simple, easy-to-use microbicides would help these individuals take control of their own health – while offering people everywhere an additional, needed option.
While no microbicide is commercially available, clinical trials could lead to licensing of the first products within this decade. To ensure that people can benefit quickly, the foundation for rollout must be laid now. Just as importantly, prevention researchers and planners need to make sure that every product—and every prevention program—truly meets the needs of women and men they aim to benefit.
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