Use condoms every time. Be safe or celibate! - Contributed
Jamaican women willing to participate
Results of a USAID-supported survey suggests that women in Jamaica and South Africa would be interested in participating in a clinical trial to examine the possible relationship between hormonal contraception and increased risks of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Results also show a high rate of STIs at the survey sites - another sign that a clinical trial would be feasible.
Clients from two family planning clinics and one STI clinic were given detailed information on a proposed trial in which women would be randomly assigned to use an intrauterine device or an injectable contraceptive. The clients then answered questions to determine how well they understood the study and how interested they would be in participating. They also provided urine or endocervical samples so that the scientists could determine their prevalence of STIs.
Nearly all of the 190 women who completed the survey appeared to understand the proposed trial well, and more than two-thirds expressed interest in participating. About 28 per cent of the women tested positive for chlamydial infection, and nine per cent tested positive for gonorrhoea.
Some observational studies have suggested that the use of hormonal contraception increases a woman's risk of acquiring STIs. Data from the largest prospective study ever conducted on this topic showed no association between the use of hormonal methods and acquisition of HIV. However, the study did examine the relationship between use of the methods and acquisition of other STIs. A randomised, controlled trial would help determine whether such a relationship exists and, if so, the nature of that relationship.
Source: Family Health International
HIV prevention studies stopped
Final results are now available for two USAID-supported clinical trials - one in Nigeria and one in Ghana - that were closed early because a low incidence of HIV among the participants prevented scientists from detecting an effect of the SAVVY candidate microbicide. For statistical reasons, a continuation of either study could not have established SAVVY's ability to prevent HIV infections.
Both studies began in 2004, when Family Health International (FHI) and its partners enrolled more than 4,000 HIV-negative women at high risk of HIV infection. Each participant in these Phase III trials was randomly assigned to receive either the SAVVY gel or a placebo gel.
The participants were instructed to use the assigned gel and a male condom at every act of sexual intercourse. Participants returned to the clinic on a monthly basis for 12 months to be tested for HIV and pregnancy. The participants reported their use of the gel and condoms, as well as the occurrence of any side effects or medical problems.
The new data show that no serious side effects were attributed to SAVVY use in the Nigerian study. Participants who used SAVVY in the Ghanaian study were slightly more likely to experience side effects in the reproductive tract than were users of the placebo. The Ghanaian study was closed in 2005, whereas the Nigerian study was closed in 2006.
Source: Family Health International
Sport nutritionists certified
Twelve nutritionists will receive certification as 'sports nutritionists' or 'master sports nutritionists' Saturday at a symposium being held at the Knutsford Court as part of nutrition week. It is the first time that local nutritionists will carry this certification. The one-day symposium is the highlight of a week of activities organised by the Jamaica Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics (JAPINAD) in commemoration of national nutrition week, a biennial event mounted by the association.
In a message to launch the week, JAPINAD's president, Venessa Whyte, said that this year the association is taking the initiative to highlight the important role that nutrition plays in sports.
"It is hoped that other local organisations will partner with us to increase the level of nutrition in support of local and regional athletes to further enhance the quality of our sports programmes, increase our cadre of outstanding athletes and reduce the incidence of injuries that have hindered the progress and duration of the professional life of many at the peak of their career," Whyte said in a news release.
JAPINAD spokespersons frequently stress the importance of a long-term programme for developing and maintaining the nutrition status of Jamaican athletes and other youngsters as a crucial factor in providing them with the necessary competitive edge on the national and international circuit.
Source: The Jamaica Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics