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There is an increasing interest in the use of microbicides — creams or gels designed to block HIV transmission by sexual activity — to fight AIDS, especially in developing countries.

In this letter to Science, Malcolm Potts of the University of California, United States, and Roger Short of the University of Melbourne, Australia argue that the money and know-how currently being used to develop such products in the developed world should be transferred to frontline researchers in those countries most affected by AIDS.

They argue that it might be counterproductive to insist on developed-world standards of acceptability for microbicides, and that a less-than-optimum microbicide available now will save more lives than an almost perfect one in a decade's time.

Link to letter in Science

Reference: Science 300, 431 (2003)

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