Women are underrepresented in clinical trials of HIV treatments, although the virus affects men and women almost equally.
A systematic review published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes found that women made up about 19 per cent of patients taking part in clinical studies of antiretroviral treatments, 38 per cent of those involved in vaccine trials and 11 per cent of those in HIV cure studies. The analysis was based on 544 published studies available in the PubMed database, totalling 144,033 patients.
“If women are not included in adequate numbers and if potential differences are not looked for, there is a risk of treatment and prevention efforts not being optimised and even potentially causing harm in women.” says Mirjam Curno, a viral immunology researcher formerly at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, and lead author of the study.
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