More Female Participants Needed in HIV Research, Physicians Say
Women now make up more than 50% of HIV-positive individuals worldwide and are the fastest growing HIV-positive population in the United States, yet traditionally they have not participated in clinical drug trials as often as men, Reuters/Excite.com reports. Participants in a recent two-day physician conference in Chicago repeatedly stressed the need for more female participants, noting that women respond differently to the disease and treatment. Dr. Judy Delmar, one attending physician, said, "The disease doesn't necessarily behave the same way in both genders. It's just a different disease in women." Dr. Carlos Arboleda, treatment director at the National Minority AIDS Council, said, "One of the main differences is that women are diagnosed later in the disease than men because they do not perceive themselves at risk." Cathy Christeller, executive director for the Chicago Women's AIDS Project, added that "determining an appropriate treatment option for women" is also a challenge because women "generally weigh less and have lower viral loads than men who are just as sick." Effective treatment depends on accurate assessment of viral levels, James Witek, an AIDS researcher at MCP Hahnemann University, said. He noted that researchers are making an effort to include more women in AIDS studies, saying, "There is a push to try and include women in clinical trials. Some of the trials now consider things like providing money for child care and other expenses" (Feldstein, Reuters/excite.com, 7/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.