Guffey MB, Richardson B, Husnik M, Makanani B, Chilongozi D, Yu E, Ramjee G, Mgodi N, Gomez K, Hillier SL, Abdool Karim S; on behalf of the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 035 Study Team.
To estimate the effectiveness of candidate microbicides BufferGel and 0.5% PRO 2000 Gel (P) (PRO 2000) for prevention of non-ulcerative sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Between 2005 and 2007, 3099 women were enrolled in HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) protocol 035, a phase II/IIb evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of BufferGel and PRO 2000 for prevention of STIs, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Trichomonas vaginalis (TV). Incidences of STIs were determined by study arm, and HRs of BufferGel and PRO 2000 versus placebo gel or no gel control groups were computed using discrete time Andersen-Gill proportional hazards model.
The overall incidence rates were 1.6/100 person-years at risk (PYAR) for NG, 3.9/100 PYAR for CT and 15.3/100 PYAR for TV. For BufferGel versus placebo gel, HRs were 0.99 (95% CI 0.49 to 2.00), 1.00 (95% CI 0.64 to 1.57) and 0.95 (95% CI 0.71 to 1.25) for prevention of NG, CT and TV, respectively. For PRO 2000, HRs were 1.66 (95% CI 0.90 to 3.06), 1.16 (95% CI 0.76 to 1.79) and 1.18 (95% CI 0.90 to 1.53) for prevention of NG, CT and TV, respectively.
The incidence of STIs was high during HIV Prevention Trials Network 035 despite provision of free condoms and comprehensive risk-reduction counselling, highlighting the need for effective STI prevention programmes in this population. Unfortunately, candidate microbicides BufferGel and PRO2000 had no protective effect against gonorrhoea, chlamydia or trichomoniasis.