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House subcommittee votes to provide $30 million for microbicide research

House subcommittee votes to provide $30 million for microbicide research

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations voted Friday to provide $30 million in funds for fiscal 2005 for HIV microbicide research through the Microbicide Development Act. The funding represents an increase of $8 million over 2004 levels. "No one can ignore the ruinous impact that the AIDS epidemic is having on families, economies, and whole societies around the world," said Polly Harrison, director of the Alliance for Microbicide Development. "Alarmingly, the face of AIDS has become increasingly female, as women now account for over half of the individuals infected with AIDS globally and 60% of [AIDS cases] in Africa. Microbicides would give women everywhere power over AIDS in a way like never before by allowing them to protect themselves from the epidemic, even in societies where they lack the economic or societal standing to control their sexual encounters." More than 60 candidate microbicides are in the pipeline, and 18 are already in clinical testing, with six of those entering late-stage testing this year. Many researchers believe that with an increase in funding and cooperation a microbicide could be available to women in developing nations within five years. Even a partially effective microbicide could stop 2.5 million HIV infections over three years.

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