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Microbicides: So, What Are They? And Why Should You Care?

Some think they could be the biggest news for women since the pill. What are they? Microbicides. Scientists around the world are working to develop gels, creams, and other products that destroy or disable the viruses and bacteria that cause HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). While microbicides are not yet available, some public health experts believe they could hold promise as a method of prevention that women could initiate themselves. So, what, if any, role could microbicides play in addressing the global AIDS crisis? Could they really help curb the spread of other STDs? Is early research yielding real hope or are initial reports just hype? And what would it take to make microbicides a reality?

A panel of experts, including Polly Harrison, PhD, Director of the Alliance for Microbicide Development; Tina Hoff, Vice President, Public Health Information and Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation; Zeda Rosenberg, MD, Scientific Director, Family Health International; Jacqueline E. Darroch, PhD Senior Vice President and Vice President for Research, Alan Guttmacher Institute; and Steven W. Schondelmeyer, PhD, Professor of Pharmaceutical Economics, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy discussed at an Emerging Issues in Reproductive Health Briefing discussed the future of microbicides, what it would take to bring them to market, and what they would mean for HIV and other STD prevention

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.