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Media Advisory

"Giving Women Power over AIDS" exhibit comes to International House

30 January 2006

ATTENTION: Health and general assignment reporters

Contact: Sarah Yang, Media Relations
(510) 643-7741 scyang@berkeley.edu

"Giving Women Power over AIDS," a traveling exhibit making a five-day stop - the first in Northern California - at International House on the University of California, Berkeley, campus. The exhibit is part of an event that features a panel discussion on the development and use of microbicides to protect women against HIV and "In Her Mothers Shoes," an award-winning article and photo essay about women and children in a world of AIDS.

The event, free and open to the public, is being co-sponsored by the School of Public Health and the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley and by the California Microbicides Initiative (CaMI), in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Microbicides.

Thursday-Monday, Feb. 2-6. The complete agenda is available online at: http://www.cami-health.com.

International House, 2299 Piedmont Ave., Berkeley. Directions are available online at: http://ihouse.berkeley.edu/i/visitor.html. Meeting rooms are included in the full agenda.

Participants of the panel discussion on Monday, Feb. 6, include Dian Harrison, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate; Kevin Whaley, CEO of Mapp Biopharmaceutical; Dr. Anke Hemmerling, project director of UC Berkeley's Lime Juice Efficacy Trial; and Ariane van der Straten, associate director of the UC San Francisco Women's Global Health Imperative.

The event will highlight the need for research and development of microbicides as an alternative to condoms in preventing the spread of AIDS. "Condoms are not a viable option for many women around the world - even in this country - because so many women are not empowered to negotiate safe sex with their partners," said Bethany Young Holt, UC Berkeley lecturer in international health and CaMI co-founder and director. "Microbicides would be applied topically and have the potential to allow women to take the leading role in their own protection."

There are currently no microbicides on the market because their development is lengthy and expensive. Still, the event's sponsors argue that the biotech industry in Northern California puts the region in a prime position to lead the development of new HIV prevention products. "There are several biotech companies here in the Bay Area that are leading the way on this," said Holt. "We hope this venue will show how far we have come, and why we need to get a microbicide to market as soon as possible."