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Population Council Presents New Research on Tools to Prevent HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Unintended Pregnancy at HIV Research for Prevention (HIV R4P)

The Population Council will present new research on novel approaches to HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unintended pregnancy prevention at the HIV Research for Prevention Conference, (HIV R4P) in Cape Town, South Africa. HIV R4P, which runs 28–31 October, is the first global scientific meeting dedicated exclusively to research on biomedical HIV prevention.

Presentations by Council researchers include advances in the development of a microbicide/contraceptive intravaginal ring (IVR) to protect against HIV, HPV, herpes (HSV-2), and unintended pregnancy (oral abstract session 3, 28 October, 11:00 am–12.30 pm); the first-in-human safety and pharmacokinetics study of the Council’s ARV-based microbicide gel, PC-1005 (poster session, 29 October, 10:00–11:00 am and 5:00–6:30 pm); and the activity of the non-ARV microbicide griffithsin against HSV-2 and human papillomavirus (HPV) (poster session, 30 October, 10:00–11:00 am and 5:00–6:30 pm).

Other Council studies on the HIV R4P agenda include new research on the connection between bacterial vaginosis and HSV-2 susceptibility (oral abstract session 10, 28 October, 1:30–3:00 pm); studies on the factors affecting the uptake of HIV counseling and testing among young people (poster session, 29 October, 10:00–11:00 am and 5:00–6:30 pm); and research on the links between counseling and testing and sexual risk behaviors (poster session, 29 October, 10:00–11:00 am and 5:00–6:30 pm).

Council scientists are also advancing global research on multi-purpose prevention technologies (MPTs), new tools in development that are designed to protect against HIV, STIs, and/or unintended pregnancy with a single product. The Council will co-chair a conference roundtable on the topic (31 October, 8:30–10:00 am), and will co-sponsor a satellite session at HIV R4P addressing the promise of MPTs in combination HIV and STI protection (31 October, 1:30–3:30 pm).

“HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy are global health crises that together affect hundreds of millions of women and men worldwide,” said Naomi Rutenberg, Population Council vice president and director of the Council’s HIV and AIDS program, and co-chair of the MPT roundtable on MPTs on 31 October at 8:30 am. “Council researchers are working on new approaches to these critical sexual health challenges that are safe, effective, easier to use, and responsive to the needs and life circumstances of the people they are designed to help.”

“Sexually active people are often at simultaneous risk for HIV, STIs that can increase their risk of HIV, and unintended pregnancy,” noted Tom Zydowsky, who leads the Council’s pharmaceutical development program in HIV and AIDS. “The Council’s work to advance MPTs is based in our belief that better and more convenient options are needed to slow these interconnected global epidemics and help women and men to lead healthier lives.”

Presentations by Council researchers at HIV R4P are listed below:

TUESDAY, 28 OCTOBER

>> Oral Sessions

  • A novel intravaginal ring (IVR) protects macaques against SHIV-RT infection and reduces HSV-2 shedding after repeated SHIV-RT/HSV-2 co-challenge 
    11:00 am–12:30 pm, Auditorium 2
    Presenter: Thomas M. Zydowsky
  • HSV-2-driven changes in α4β7 expression correlate with increased susceptibility to SHIV ex vivo and in vivo
    1:30–3:00 pm, Roof Terrace Room
    Presenter: Elena Martinelli
WEDNESDAY, 29 OCTOBER

>> Poster Sessions

  • Socio-demographic factors associated with uptake of HIV counseling and testing (HCT) among Nigerian youth
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm, Hall 2
    Presenter: Ayodeji Oginni
  • Does HIV counseling and testing change sexual risk behaviors? Findings from a community health center (CHC) in North Central Nigeria
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm. Hall 2
    Presenter: Ibrahim Suleiman
  • ARV-based prevention for women: New data on HIV testing behaviors from potential users of vaginal microbicides in Mpumalanga, South Africa
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm, Hall 2
    Presenter: Martha Brady
  • Are Nigerian healthcare providers (HCP) prepared for men who have sex with men (MSM): Lessons from the mystery client survey in Nigeria
    The anti-same sex marriage law implications on HIV interventions for men who have sex with men in Nigeria
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm, Hall 2
    Presenter: Chiedu Ifekandu
  • MZC and 1% TFV gel: Multipurpose prevention approaches
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm, Hall 2
    Presenter: José Fernández-Romero
  • First-in-human safety and pharmacokinetics (PK) of a MIV-150/zinc acetate/carrageenan gel (PC-1005)
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm, Hall 2
    Presenter: George W. Creasy
THURSDAY, 30 OCTOBER

>> Poster Sessions

  • Antiviral activity and mode of action of griffithsin against HSV-2 and HPV: Preliminary studies of a potential non-ARV combination microbicide
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm, Hall 2
    Presenter: José Fernández Romero
  • Reporting of adherence in the VOICE trial: Does disclosure of product non-use increase at the termination visit?
    Reporting of challenges to adherence in VOICE: A comparison of quantitative and qualitative self-reports among women during and after the trial
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm, Hall 2
    Presenter: Barbara Mensch
  • Patterns of drug use among people who inject drugs (PWID) and their implications for sexually transmitted infections in northern Nigeria
    10:00–11:00 am, 5:00–6:30 pm, Hall 2
    Presenter: Desmond Iriaye
FRIDAY, 31 OCTOBER

>> Roundtable

  • Multipurpose Technologies
    8:30–10:00 am, Meeting Room 1.60
    Co-chairs: Naomi Rutenberg, Population Council; Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, WHO
    ​Panel: Judy Manning, Joseph Romano, Charu Mullick, Elizabeth Brown, and Elizabeth Bukusi

>> Satellite Session

  • Multi-Purpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs): The Future of HIV and STI Protection?
    1:30–3:30 pm, Meeting Room 1.61
    Co-chairs: José Fernández Romero, Population Council; Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, WHO
    Panel: Carolyn Deal, Betsy Herold, Dorothy Patton, Joe Romano, John Schiller, Tom Zydowsky

About the Population Council

The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.

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Media contact
Erin Kiernon, ekiernon@popcouncil.org, +1 212 339 0653

Council Commentary

Population Council Hosts Archbishop Desmond Tutu, HRH Princess Mabel van Oranje in Zambia

Population Council Hosts Archbishop Desmond Tutu, HRH Princess Mabel van Oranje in Zambia
Photo credit: François D'Elbee/Girls Not Brides

On Tuesday, September 16th, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and HRH Princess Mabel van Oranje, Chair of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage, visited with girls participating in the Population Council’s Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program (AGEP). AGEP is designed to find the best ways to improve girls’ social, health, and economic resources so that they can stay in school longer, avoid early marriage, delay sexual activity, and prevent unintended pregnancy and HIV and other STIs. The project is led and being evaluated by the Population Council. The Population Council is at the forefront of directing policy attention to child marriage and in developing and testing effective methods of reducing the practice. Check out a slideshow of their visit at Girls Not Brides.

In a statement released after the visit, Tutu said, “It is encouraging to see that the government, civil society, traditional leaders and others in Zambia have recognised that child marriage has a devastating impact on girls and the nation as a whole. I am impressed by the determination of all those we have met who are working to bring an end to this scourge. . . . We have seen how empowerment programmes can transform a girl’s life, increasing her confidence and her ability to make choices about her own future. We also need to make sure that education, health and other services are accessible and affordable especially for adolescent girls—married and unmarried.” 

From Our Partners

The Manufacturer’s Perspective: Stronger Supply Chains and Forecasting for Improved Access and Reproductive Choice

This post is part of a monthly blog series profiling viewpoints from leaders in reproductive health who are members of the Bellagio Group on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. The Bellagio Group is a coalition of experts who convene annually to discuss practices for expanding contraceptive choice and accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to reproductive health services. This post represents the views of the authors, and is not a representation of the Population Council or the Bellagio Group. Please direct any questions to the author at maggie.kohn@merck.com

Affordability is often considered one of the biggest barriers to accessing medicines and medical technologies, including contraceptives. But ensuring that a full range of medicines and technologies are universally accessible takes more than just an affordable price; it requires an interconnected web of partners within and outside a national health system who share a commitment to reaching men and women with the supplies they need, when and where they need them.

Read more

From Our Partners

Contraception: Why Access, Choice, and Price Matter

This post is part of a monthly blog series profiling viewpoints from leaders in reproductive health who are members of the Bellagio Group on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. The Bellagio Group is a coalition of experts who convene annually to discuss practices for expanding contraceptive choice and accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to reproductive health services. This post represents the views of the authors, and is not a representation of the Population Council or the Bellagio Group. Please direct any questions to the author at vhale@medicines360.org.  

When we talk about challenges in the realm of family planning, we may often speak of countries with high fertility rates or places where women must have their husband’s permission to use contraception. It is easy to forget that it was only in 1965 that the US Supreme Court legalized the oral contraceptive pill for married women and 1972 that the Court legalized oral contraceptives for unmarried women.

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Press Releases

Population Council Launches Phase 1 Clinical Trial of a Novel Microbicide Gel to Prevent HIV and Other STIs

The Population Council, in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), announced today the launch of a Phase 1 trial of PC-1005 vaginal gel, a novel multipurpose prevention technology (MPT). Thirty healthy, HIV-negative women will be enrolled in the trial to evaluate the safety, acceptability, and pharmacokinetic profile of PC-1005 gel.

The antiretroviral-based microbicide gel contains  MIV-150, an enzyme inhibitor that prevents HIV-infected cells from producing new virus; zinc acetate, an antiviral agent with activity against HIV and herpes simplex virus (HSV); and carrageenan, a natural product derived from seaweed that has been shown to have potent activity against human papillomavirus (HPV).

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From Our Partners

A Balanced Response to Basic Human Rights Needs in Crisis Settings

This post is part of a monthly blog series profiling viewpoints from leaders in reproductive health who are members of the Bellagio Group on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception. The Bellagio Group is a coalition of experts who convene annually to discuss practices for expanding contraceptive choice and accelerating progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of universal access to reproductive health services. This post represents the views of the authors, and is not a representation of the Population Council or the Bellagio Group. Please direct any questions to the author at bright@unfpa.org.

The screams emanating from the delivery room did not beckon me to enter, but such was my introduction to reproductive health in refugee settings. Like 51 million people around the world, the Palestinian woman in labor was forcibly displaced. As in any population, about half of refugees are women and girls, and pregnant women account for 20% of women of reproductive age. As can be imagined, some of the women do not wish to be, or become, pregnant, so the provision of a range of short- and long-acting, reversible contraceptives as part of reproductive health education and care is essential. 

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Council Commentary

A Call to Action to End Child Marriage and Prioritize Affected Girls Under 15

Judith Bruce is a Population Council senior associate and policy analyst. Annabel Erulkar is a senior associate and director of the Council's Ethiopia office. 

Each year, at least 14 million girls around the world are married by age 18—that is, as children. After many years of hard work by researchers and advocates, child marriage is now firmly embedded in the rhetoric of human rights. What we need now is a focused business plan that will ensure successful results.

Despite girls being highlighted far and wide in conferences and communications, the poorest girls in the poorest communities are not yet receiving the necessary on-the-ground resources to avoid forced sex inside and outside of marriage. Child marriage not only violates their human rights and endangers their health, but often also anchors them in poverty.

What can we do to move from well-meaning dialogue and diffuse efforts to actions that actually make a difference?

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Voices of Change

Family Planning: Increasing Access, Engaging Communities, Improving Technologies

In celebration of World Contraception Day 2014, learn more about how the Population Council has shaped policies, informed programs, and developed new reproductive health technologies through the voices of 6 Council researchers: Terence Adda-Balinia, Selina Esantsi, Régine Sitruk-Ware, Ruth Merkatz, Gertrude Nsorma Nyaaba, and Patience Boni.

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Council Commentary

The Power of Family Planning

40% of all pregnancies worldwide in 2012 were unplanned. More than 222 million women in developing countries who don’t want to become pregnant aren’t using modern contraception. And 358,000 women and 3 million newborns die each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Click below and check out our new World Contraception Day infographics to get the facts on how family planning improves lives, long-acting reversible contraception, and a new Council-developed contraceptive option for breastfeeding women.

          


We invite you also to read more about how the Council has shaped policies, informed programs, and developed new reproductive health technologies through the voices of our researchers.

Press Releases

Population Council Awarded USAID Research Project: Supporting Operational AIDS Research

The Population Council has been awarded a five-year cooperative agreement from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for Supporting Operational AIDS Research (SOAR). This global research project will determine how best to address challenges and gaps that remain in the delivery of HIV and AIDS care and support, treatment, and prevention services. Led by the Population Council, SOAR partners include the Johns Hopkins University, the University of North Carolina, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Futures Group, and Futures Institute. The SOAR partnership will produce a large, multi-faceted body of high-quality evidence to guide the planning and implementation of programs and policies for HIV prevention, care, and treatment.

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