Latest HIV gel fails to protect women in trial

A 20-year effort to find a microbicide that protects women from HIV ended in another bitter setback for researchers who reported that a late-stage trial of a new gel has failed. Testing among 6,000 women in South Africa revealed that women used the gel less than half of the times they reported having sex and only one in ten said they used the therapy as directed.

This new gel used the microbicide Carraguard, which was found to be safe. The women given the gel, derived from seaweed, reported 134 HIV infections compared to 151 infections in the control group. The failure follows a fiasco last year in which two late-stage trials of a new gel were stopped after researchers determined that it might actually have helped raise the risk of contracting the disease.

- read the article in The New York Times