KIGALI - The Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr. Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya has commended the innovation of new HIV/AIDS prevention measures for women (microbicides) saying that they will lower domestic violence crimes.
According to the minister, for most families, domestic violence crimes may arise from disagreements as women try to negotiate safe sex with their partners.
“With the new prevention measures that, set to be tested in the country, women will be able to protect themselves from the epidemic without men’s consent. As a matter of fact, a man can have sex without notice of whether or not his partner has used them.
“This is a new way that will promote good family relations in homes as well as preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS - a deadly epidemic for which women hold the biggest burden,” Mujawamariya explained.
Medical experts from Project Ubuzima, the non-government organization behind these trials said that the first product to be tested in the country in November is the gel.
“The gel prevents the HIV virus from attacking the human cells or even multiplying to other cells, should the woman acquire the virus. Based on ARV’s, these microbicides hold great promise and can be easily inserted and removed by the user,” Evelyne Kestelyn explained to the press on Thursday.
Mujawamariya added that once the measures are proved to be effective after trials, government will ensure women’s access to the microbicides in a bid to curb transmissions.
“Just like the government has provided ARV’s for treatment of HIV/AIDS, definitely access to a new measure of preventing transmission will be prioritised as well,” she said, adding that “this should however not be reason for people to misbehave and live carelessly, other prevention measures will still be used.”
Prof. Joseph Vyankandodera, a medical expert at the project, noted that the first set of clinical trials will be done on 800 HIV negative women who will be readily available for close follow up for about 28 days.
Other countries where tests will occur include South Africa, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania among others.