Overgrowth of a certain species of vaginal bacteria was associated with a 13-fold higher likelihood of acquiring HIV, while another species was found to lower tenofovir levels and may contribute to reduced efficacy of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) delivered in a vaginal gel, according to a set of presentations at the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) last month in Durban, South Africa.
The continuing high rate of HIV incidence among women and girls was a key theme at AIDS 2016. Women and girls account for nearly 60% of newly infected people in sub-Saharan Africa, conference co-chair Olive Shisana noted in her opening remarks.
At the session "New Evidence: Why Do Young Women in Africa Have High Rates of HIV Infection?" Quarraisha Abdool Karim from the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) explained that both social and biological factors play a role.