Monday, May 24, 2010
Young women of reproductive age are among those at the greatest risk of acquiring HIV. A new study on microbicides--medications that prevent the heterosexual spread of HIV--could help establish a safe way to curb the transmission of HIV to pregnant women. Doctor Richard Beigi at Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and lead researcher on the study says there is a void when it comes to data on the safety of medications taken by pregnant women. This study involved sixteen healthy, HIV-negative women who had a single dose of tenofivir applied to the vagina hours before giving birth by cesarean section. Beigi says for the first trial of the drug it was applied almost immediately before birth to minimize risk to the mothers and infants. Researchers found that only a small amount of the drug was absorbed into the womens' bloodstream, amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord. Now a larger study is in the works that will include more women, begin slightly earlier in the pregnancy and include two doses of the medication. Beigi says the collective trials will hopefully prove that the microbicides are safe for use pregnant women.