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International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA), a global network of over 500 advocates, policy-makers, and leading scientists from 40 countries on six continents, released Less Silence, More Science: Advocacy to Make Rectal Microbicides a Reality at the Microbicides 2008 conference. The report, presented on Monday, February 25, 2008 as part of the Conference’s panel discussion on rectal microbicides, serves as an authoritative reference on recent developments and current efforts in rectal microbicide research, and describes global challenges, key advocacy goals, strategies and activities of IRMA.
The report calls attention to the fact that anal intercourse among gay men and other men who have sex with men, as well as between women and men, is an important driver of the HIV pandemic in many parts of the world. According to IRMA, one of the dangerous silences of global HIV prevention efforts has been the neglect “of anal intercourse between women and men as well as the HIV prevalence among, and indeed, the mere existence of, gay men and other men who have sex with men in Asia, Africa and other parts of the developing world. This neglect costs lives.”
Globally, most anal intercourse is unprotected and new prevention technologies like rectal microbicides are needed. Currently in development, rectal microbicides are products that could be used to reduce a person’s risk of HIV infection through anal intercourse in the absence of condoms, and would provide additional protection with condoms.
Research into rectal microbicides, as described in the IRMA report, is more robust than it has ever been, but these efforts are hampered by a deplorable lack of funding. In 2006, only US$7 million/year was invested globally in rectal microbicides research. It is estimated that it will require an investment of at least US$350 million over the next 10 to 15 years, or roughly US$35 million a year, to develop a comprehensive research program. Thus, annual spending must increase five-fold to ensure timely discovery and development of a rectal microbicide.
Less Silence, More Science also provides a glimpse at the results from the world’s largest survey on anal sex, conducted last year by IRMA. The web-based survey gathered data on the types of lubricants people use for anal sex, as well as preferred lube characteristics, from almost 9,000 people from 107 countries.
The lubricant survey showed that a rectal microbicide formulated as a lubricant would be an ideal way to provide protection to those who engage in anal intercourse. Indeed, a rectal microbicide formulated as a lube would probably be highly acceptable, especially if it has no flavour, colour or smell, and is available in both thick and liquid consistencies as either a water or silicone base.
The full report is available for download from IRMA’s new web site: http://www.rectalmicrobicides.org.
This publication is an extract from: GC News #91 – 15 February 2008
Rectal Microbicide Advocates Call for Five-fold Funding Increase. © Canadian AIDS Society. Published 07/24/2009. Updated 02/24/2011. Web. Retrieved 05/18/2013 from http://www.cdnaids.ca/rectalmicrobicideadvocatescallforfi