Tuesday, September 23, 2008

UK Campaign for Microbicides Springs into Action!

The UK Campaign for Microbicides has recently sent a letter to the UK Department for International Development (DfID).

The letter does an excellent job at balancing praise for the government’s recent announcement, expressing concern on certain aspects of this announcement, and offering to become involved in the process.

Namely, the UK Campaign has expressed:

* Support for the commitment to increase by 50 per cent funding available for the research and development of vaccines and microbicides from 2008 to 2015

* Interest in working with partners to take forward this commitment

* Concern on two fronts:

- The restrictive definition of microbicides used by DfID, which fails to recognize that both vaginal and rectal microbicides development require support, and that microbicides are needed for women and men

- The need for social and behavioural research

Congratulations to UK advocates for your work over the years, which undoubtedly led to the commitment to increased funding, as well as for your well-crafted letter. We await DfID’s response with great anticipation!


Anonymous said...

I read this letter in question through the IRMA list. Since men are not mentioned at all in the letter I don't share the enthusiasm - the letter only says that women don't always initiate the use of a micorbicide but it's still for their own use. As to future cooperation, the letter leaves it all up to the govt whether further public consultation will be "appropriate"
this letter was not a good example.

Marc-André LeBlanc said...

Actually the letter states:

"While we welcome the intensified support we remain concerned about how DFID defines a microbicide – that is, strictly as a product that women can initiate. It is critical to recognise that there are currently two strands of microbicide research and development in need of your support. These include vaginal microbicides as well as
rectal microbicides, which are both essential in striving toward comprehensive HIV prevention. The research strategy in particular does not recognise this distinction and we would welcome your reassurance that DFID support will be directed towards the development of both vaginal and rectal microbicides."

You are right that men are not named explicitly. I thought the implication was clear, but perhaps not...

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