Tenofovir 1% vaginal gel provides moderate protection against sexually transmitted HIV, a Phase IIb trial has indicated.

The CAPRISA 004 trial tested the safety and effectiveness of a microbicide gel that contained the antiretroviral drug tenofovir on nearly 900 women at two sites in South Africa.

The trial measured whether tenofovir gel reduced risk of HIV infection among women, compared to women provided with a placebo gel.

It also observed if tenofovir gel was safe to use regularly over long periods of time, collected information on health complications, genital events, and systemic toxicity, and assessed if women who sero-converted during the trial developed resistance to tenofovir.

The drug, which is taken as an oral treatment for HIV in many countries, is licensed for use as HIV treatment in South Africa.

The trial was conducted by a consortium of research institutes. It was funded by the US Agency for International Development and a biotechnology agency of the South African Government.