NIH names Clinical Trial Units for the Microbicide Trials Network

PITTSBURGH, March 12 Twelve institutions today were named by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as HIV/AIDS clinical trial units (CTUs) for the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), a new HIV/AIDS clinical trials network established by NIAID last year. The CTUs, located in Africa, India and the United States, will engage in multi-center studies spanning 17 locations in seven countries that seek to determine if topical microbicides can help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV in women.

Nearly half of the 39.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS are women, and in Africa, women account for 59 percent of all infected adults. Young women are especially vulnerable. For instance, in sub-Saharan Africa, those aged 15 to 24 with HIV outnumber men of the same age by three to one.

In developing countries, HIV most often is spread through unprotected heterosexual intercourse, and educational efforts promoting abstinence, monogamy, and condoms have not been completely effective. Through its CTUs, the MTN is evaluating the potential that microbicides, substances formulated as gels or creams, for example, can reduce or prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases when applied topically to the surface of the vagina.

The MTN CTUs based outside the United States are the National AIDS Research Institute in Pune, India; the Medical Research Council in Durban, South Africa; and the University of Cape Town, South Africa. U.S. institutions named as CTUs that will be conducting MTN trials exclusively at the international sites with whom they collaborate are the University of California, San Francisco, which operates in Zimbabwe, and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, both in Baltimore, with affiliations in Malawi and Uganda, respectively. The University of Alabama at Birmingham, was granted two

Contact: Lisa Rossi
Microbicide Trials Network

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