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VIA: NewsOne.com

The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) website reports an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV infection, of which almost half (46%) were black/African American. While blacks represent approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population, they continue to account for a higher proportion of cases at all stages of HIV/AIDS—from infection with HIV to death with AIDS—compared with members of other races and ethnicities.

And African American women continue to be the highest group infected in the African American community.  The CDC reports that for black women living with HIV/AIDS, the most common methods of transmission were high-risk heterosexual contact and injection drug use.

A new study offers hope for these women.

After two decades in which researchers searched fruitlessly for an effective vaginal microbicide to block H.I.V., South African scientists working in two AIDS-devastated communities of South Africa, one rural and one urban, say they have finally found something that shows real promise.

Women who used a vaginal microbicidal gel containing an antiretroviral medication widely used to treat AIDS, tenofovir, were 39 percent less likely over all to contract H.I.V. than those who used a placebo. Those who used the gel most regularly reduced their odds of infection 54 percent, according to a two-and-a-half year study of 889 women by Caprisa, a Durban-based AIDS research center.

Broader trials are needed to confirm the results, and it will most likely be years before the product is publicly available, but if produced on a large scale the gel would cost less than 25 cents per application, the lead investigators estimated.

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