The spread of HIV continues unabated in the most vulnerable populations of the world. HIV prevention methods, such as a vaginal microbicide, a mucosal vaccine, pre-exposure prophylaxis or a vaccine, are urgently needed in the fight against new infections. We must make a commitment to supporting innovative research and product design, so that one or more of these products provide a halt to the spread of HIV. Above all, these products should be proven to be safe and not negatively disturb the local immune system in a way that facilitates or enhances heterosexual transmission of HIV. HIV specific and non specific cellular and humoral local vaginal immunity must be assessed in clinical trials when testing prevention products for safety or efficacy. A proven, well-documented and standardized sampling strategy will provide high quality data to be able to assess both safety and local immune responses. In this paper, we will discuss methods for vaginal immunology sampling in the context of clinical trials.
- Viral diseases
- Genital tract
- Clinical trials
- Laboratory techniques and procedures
- Review of the literature