Some good news for women came out of Africa last week, via the international AIDS conference in Vienna. A study in South Africa testing a vaginal microbicide gel has shown that the gel reduced the risk of HIV infection by 39%, and halved their risk of acquiring genital herpes. 39% may not sound like much but previous microbicide trials have shown more like 0% effectiveness, so it’s really very big news! One of the reasons it’s so important is because it’s a method of HIV prevention that women have complete control over. In cultures where women have difficulty negotiating sex (let alone safe sex), this will make a big difference. In fact, it was probably the biggest news at the conference. You can find out more in a webcast, or read the news report.