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New journal issue examines ARV-based HIV prevention for women

September 10, 2014

On the heels of July’s 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, the Journal of the International AIDS Society has just published a special issue, Women and ARV-based prevention: opportunities and challenges. The supplement is co-edited by guest editors Cindy Geary, Director of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences at FHI 360 and Elizabeth Bukusi, Chief Research Officer and Deputy Director for Research and Training at the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

Women and ARV prevention coverAntiretroviral (ARV) drugs in pill or gel formulations offer the possibility of HIV prevention methods for women who cannot refuse risky sex or ask their partners to use condoms. But low adherence to ARV regimens in studies has led some researchers to question whether a woman-initiated technology that must be used daily or before and after sex is even a viable option for women.

One strategy to address this concern has been to focus on methods for women that are less user-dependent than daily pills or vaginal gels. In an introductory editorial, Geary and Bukusi suggest that “a more effective strategy that recognizes the differing needs of women in different situations may be to increase the options that women have to protect themselves against HIV infection.”

This special issue of the journal aims to give voice to the needs of women who can benefit from woman-initiated HIV prevention methods by presenting research, analysis and commentary that contribute to the global conversation on how to reduce barriers and enhance opportunities for the effective use of ARV-based products by women.

The supplement includes an editorial and 11 papers addressing issues such as adherence, risk perception, gender, users’ needs and preferences, communication, service delivery and the potential roles for partners, communities, providers and the private sector in supporting women’s use of ARV-based prevention.

The supplement was funded by FHI 360’s Preventive Technologies Agreement (PTA) project. Much of the research reported in the supplement was also supported by PTA. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2009 to 2014, PTA generated knowledge about biomedical, behavioral and programmatic approaches to HIV prevention and provided scientific support and technical assistance to governments and nongovernmental organizations in 15 countries.

The Journal of the International AIDS Society is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that publishes HIV-related research from various disciplines and particularly encourages submissions in operational research and implementation sciences.