One of the most interesting papers at #CROI2015 today was about the failure of Tenofovir gel as PrEP for women in the South African FACTS 001 trial. This study, among young, poor women showed that adherence is indeed a challenge and not necessarily because of any failure of the participants.
Among their target group a range of day to day barriers existed including having limited opportunities to use the gel because the sexuality of young women is stigmatised. The researchers also highlighted the persistence of structural gender inequity and its role in limiting female controlled prevention methods.
Fortunately, the study design included a robust social science component and over the coming years there will be much to learn from this trial, despite its failure to find the drug itself worked to prevent HIV.
- HIV prevention study does not confirm tenofovir gel effectiveness.Women require convenient and effective HIV prevention methods that work within the context of their lives (AVAC media release, 24 February 2015)
- HIV prevention study does not confirm pericoital tenofovir gel effectiveness: protection observed in small group of women who used the product consistently (CONDRAD media release, 24 February 2015)