Women poorly represented in HIV drug trials

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29 May 2014

Women comprise nearly half of the HIV-positive population worldwide, but these 15.5 million women tend to be under-represented in clinical trials of HIV drug therapies.

US authors of a recent paper on the subject found that women represented only about 20% of the subjects in randomised clinical trials submitted between 2000 and 2008. They found no statistically or clinicially significant differences between women and men in outcomes with regard to viral load after 48 weeks.

However, the authors did report significant gender differences favouring males based on subgroup analyses.

"Mounting evidence indicates that metabolism of certain drugs varies in men vs. women, and side-effects that interfere with adherence to these medications may also manifest differently," they said.