Global meet on microbicides begins in India

The 4-day biannual International Microbicides 2008 Conference was inaugurated yesterday by the Indian Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss. Congratulating the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for organizing this important international event, the Minister particularly emphasized the need for an active participation and collaboration amongst all stakeholders in achieving the goal of developing a safe, effective, and accessible microbicide for a woman more than a man to deal with behavioral change.

It is for the first time that this meeting is being held in the Asian region in which over 1100 delegates comprising researchers, public health workers, communities and advocacy organizations have gathered together from across the Globe to discuss and deliberate current research and development of an effective microbicide.

Microbicides refers to a range of different products that share one common characteristic: the ability to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections when applied topically. A variety of microbicides are being researched which could be delivered in many forms: gels, creams, suppositories, films, sponge or ring. Microbicides are currently under research & development.

The biannual International Microbicides Conference has become one of the most important international scientific and networking conferences in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Maintaining global commitment to this effort requires continued pressure from the scientists and advocates who are working on microbicides, and this conference allows this critical research field to be continuously profiled and developed. The conference provides updates on recent Microbicides research, creates a forum for the discussion of new developments in Microbicides research and to present opportunities for knowledge sharing between Microbicides researchers, public health workers, advocates, communities and civil society organizations.

Despite the knowledge of successful HIV prevention strategy, HIV continues to spread at an alarming rate especially among women in developing countries. Specifically, there are about 2.5 million cases of HIV in India. The prevalence rate of HIV amongst 15 – 49 years age group is 0.9 % and a mere 0.1 % increase in the HIV prevalence would result in addition of 0.5 millions new cases. The use of current HIV controlled methods such as abstinence, monogamy and condoms ? males / females are not always feasible. Therefore, there is an urgent need to have other HIV prevention technologies which are women initiated.

The 4-day meet (24th ? 27th February, 2008) with an international scientific advisory committee with eminent medical scientist Dr N.K. Ganguly, formerly Director-General, ICMR as the Chair and national organizing committee with Shri. Naresh Dayal, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as Chair, will be discussing at length various issues in four simultaneous tracks ? basic science, clinical, social science and community & advocacy under eminent Chairpersons. Specifically, there will be nine plenary sessions, and presentations of 553 Original researches [oral, poster, book] as also cross track sessions, round table discussion sessions including poster sessions and exhibitions.

Source: Press Information Bureau, India



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