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Study data presented at the 12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston show that an experimental vaginal microbicide developed by Indevus Pharmaceuticals could help prevent HIV, herpes, and other sexually transmitted disease infections, The New York Times reports. The gel, called PRO 2000, was tested in HIV-positive women and was shown to significantly reduce HIV viral levels in vaginal fluids, thereby lowering the risk of passing the virus along to the women's sex partners. Similar studies have shown the microbicide is also effective in protecting HIV-negative women from infection. A longer test is currently under way to gauge whether the product has any significant side effects from long-term use, researchers say. Additionally, a larger study involving more than 3,000 women at nine sites is planned.