Press Release

UNFPA Welcomes Microbicide Study Results

20 July 2010
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, Vienna/New York—UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, joins UNAIDS and its fellow co-sponsoring organizations in welcoming the results of a South African study showing that a vaginal gel containing an antiretroviral drug can significantly reduce the risk of HIV infections in women. These are the first encouraging results since such research into microbicides began nearly 20 years ago. The proof of concept study was completed by the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).

The study found that the gel, containing the antiretroviral drug tenofovir, reduced a woman’s risk of HIV infection by 39 per cent.

“The CAPRISA findings are heartening as they hold the promise of providing women with another female-oriented means of avoiding HIV infection, in addition to female condoms,” said Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA.

Women represent half of all adults living with HIV globally and more than 60 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age and contributes significantly to maternal death.

“Progress in maternal health depends on progress in tackling HIV and vice-versa,” added Ms. Obaid.

As additional trials take place to review and confirm the findings of the CAPRISA study, UNFPA calls for an acceleration of existing prevention efforts to protect women from HIV infection and also for increased integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

UNFPA – because everyone counts


For more information, please contact:
Jacqueline Daldin +43 664 656 4267,
Micol Zarb +43 664 930 6592,

Population : 9 mil
Fertility rate
Maternal Mortality Ratio
Contraceptives prevalence rate
Population aged 10-24
Youth secondary school enrollment
Boys 87%
Girls 87%

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