There has been a huge debate brewing on the use of vaginal gels by women with many stating that there might not be many takers for it. In the recently concluded HIV conference held in Sydney this week, the same issue was on the mind of many people. The main topic of discussion during the conference was the abruptly aborted clinical trial that was conducted last year in Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania. The main aim of this test was to find out the effectiveness of a new method of HIV prevention in nearly 4000 heterosexual women.
But the bigger issue among most people which includes researchers at The Miriam Hospital is that whether women willing to use a vaginal gel to protect themselves against HIV infection. The future of the products like microbicides that can prevent the sexual transmission of HIV depends on whether there any takers of it. But a new study might eventually answer that million dollar question. A study known as Project LINK undertaken by Miriam researchers could give some insights on the user experience with topical vaginal gels which been a contentious issue for many. This information could then be used to optimize the experience of the women which would ensure its consistent use.
Lead psychologist Kathleen M. Morrow has been busy finding a link between the formulation of a microbicide and the characteristics of the gel introspect of user experience. Their main aim is to deduce various levels of sensations that have been reported by women after using these gels. The main hurdle in front of scientists is not the effectiveness of the gel against HIV, but the adherence and acceptability of microbicides among its users. If they are able to alter this, then the microbicides would have a greater impact on the HIV epidemic.