A trial on the effectiveness of anti-retroviral drugs,commonly used in treating HIV in preventing sexual transmission of the virus to young unmarried women have shown that the drugs do not work.
The research, Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic (VOICE) began in September 2009 and is set to to have its last phase ending in August this year.
It involves 5 029 participants, 630 of them Zimbabweans.
The drugs were being administered as either vaginal gel or an oral tablet.
Announcing the results on Monday, VOICE project director Dr Nyaradzo Mgodi said the reason why the three test products namely, tenofovir gel, oral tenofovir and oral truvada proved to be ineffective was the lack of adherence.
"All the results were not statistically significant. All the products did not work to prevent HIV in the population because the women were not using the study product.
"We found out that less than 40 percent were using the study product and that less than a third had indications of the drugs on their hair, blood or vaginal area," she said.
"An analysis of blood samples from a subset of 773 participants (including women who acquired HIV) found adherence to product use was low across all groups, drug was detected in 29 percent of blood samples from women in the Truvada group, 28 percent of samples in the oral tenofovir group and 23 percent among those in the tenofovir gel group.
"In sharp contrast, adherence to the product use was calculated to be about 90 percent based on what the participants themselves had reported to trial staff and on monthly counts of unused gel applicators and leftover pills," the report stated.
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