ANTWERP, BELGIUM, May 16, 2002 ( – The battle to find effective remedies for HIV/AIDS other than responsible, chaste behaviour continue to frustrate researchers and activists. Some progress is being made, but interested parties are frustrated at the overall pace of research and amount of available money. About 650 people attended a Microbicides 2002 conference in Belgium this week. According to Wired News, “they heard good news about several gels, creams and other microbicide products that many researchers believe could significantly enhance AIDS-prevention efforts.” UNAIDS director Peter Piot said, “there are more serious products and more advances … but frankly two years later I wish we were a bit further. We still have a long way to go. The pipeline is still slow.” Only one product is in Phase 3 clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of microbicides in preventing HIV infection.  Funding is also a problem. “Rockefeller researchers said that because the costs of developing microbicides are greater than the estimated returns on the first generation of products, pharmaceutical companies likely won’t participate until Phase 4 clinical trials, the last stage of testing required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before the agency allows a product to be sold commercially,” reported Wired. This means continued research will depend on further funding by foundations and governments.

There is no information on whether conference attendees considered major funding for campaigns to emphasize lifestyle changes related to this disease that is spread solely by certain behaviours. This type of approach, which does not increase pharmaceutical profits, has historically been used for almost all other fatal diseases that have been spread by particular social behaviours.