Scientists in South Africa are holding clinical trials to test a gel they believe could reduce the risk of women being infected with HIV.

The gel is being tested at seven centres and according to Professor Helen Rees, Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, is the first South African team of scientists to head a multi-site trial.

Previously, multi-site trials were led by international scientists working with local peers.

 

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"The planning for the Facts study is well under way and we hope to be in the field by August," said Rees.

The Tenofovir vaginal gel is seen as a positive breakthrough for HIV prevention. It proved 39 percent effective at protecting young women from HIV and halved the risk of Herpes HSV-2, according to the Caprisa 004 study in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Facts study aims to confirm these results.