In the Fight Against HIV, a Breakthrough for Women of Color

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 Big, encouraging news on the HIV prevention front: This week, not one but two major studies involving heterosexual women and men found that by taking a daily dose of HIV meds, uninfected folks can dramatically reduce their risk of contracting the virus from their HIV positive partner.

While researchers continue work on a vaccine and female-controlled prevention tools like vaginal microbicides, this latest development in so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis represents another option for heterosexual women of color who continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV.

The first of the two studies involved committed couples in which one partner had HIV and the other didn’t. Led by the University of Washington’s International Clinical Research Center and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the study, dubbed Partner PrEP, provided 4,758 serodiscordant duos in Kenya and Uganda with what it describes as a comprehensive package of HIV prevention services. This included intensive individual and couples’ safe sex counseling, HIV testing, free condoms, testing and treatment for other STDs, and monitoring and care for those with HIV. Read more here.