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AIDS Taking on a Female Face

Women's Issues -- in U.S. as Well as Abroad -- at Heart of AIDS Prevention

The Search for Solutions continued...

"Microbicides are good because they are private and female-controlled," Priddy says. "We need to give women that power over their own protection. Even here in a population like Atlanta we see a clear need for women to protect themselves."

Priddy says a vaginal microbicide won't be ideal if it has to be applied prior to every sexual encounter.

"What's needed is something that doesn't have to be applied every time, like a pill or an injection or an intravaginal ring that would give off a steady flow of a microbicide," she says. "There is definitely a lot of work to do in biomedical ways for women to protect themselves against HIV infection."

But there's only so much science can do.

"When you talk about gender disparities, sexual inequity, and poverty, there are no ready solutions," Priddy says. "In the scientific community, there is a feeling that we don't know exactly how to address those issues. So in dealing with HIV and AIDS, the medical and scientific fields have had great success in developing antiretroviral drugs, but HIV/AIDS prevention has not caught up with the technological advances of HIV/AIDS treatment. ... We say this is a multifactorial problem, but maybe our approach to a solution has not been so multifactorial."

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