The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya, has commended Project Ubuzima for the clinical research its carrying out in microbicides, as an alternative HIV prevention tool especially for women, terming it as “a new initiative that could help protect millions of women against contracting HIV/AIDS.”
The minister made the remarks yesterday during her tour of the project, which is an international nonprofit group conducting trials in microbicides, which include a wide range of products such as gels, films and sponges that could help prevent sexual transmission of HIV and other infections.
“If you want to be a champion of women empowerment, you must venture into all spheres, including science, in order to find solutions to the major problems affecting women,” Mujawamariya said.
“We consider this activity by Project Ubuzima as a noble cause that falls into our policy to protect the people. When you protect women, then you are protecting the whole family.”
She also promised government’s support and commitment to the project as a way of partnering to find solutions that will ensure the protection of citizens from HIV/AIDS.
“Our doors are open for partnership and we will continue to advocate for the work by this project as stakeholders who are involved in the wellbeing of our families,” Mujawamariya said.
Evelyn Kestelyn, the Scientific Manager at Project Ubuzima, said that the studies will offer longer term protection, more convenience and more alternatives from which people can choose how to protect themselves against HIV.
“Although other contraceptives like condoms are on the market, we know that people don’t use them all the time. That is why we are interested in scientific research to find more efficient and convenient ways which people can utilize to prevent HIV infection,” Kestelyn said.
Project Ubuzima last month recruited women volunteers to facilitate research in microbicides, which were announced as “a new advance in HIV prevention” during the International AIDS conference in Vienna last month.