The National Aids Council of Zambia (NAC) says it is aware that some women contracted HIV in a clinical trial into a preventative HIV gel in Mazabuka.
NAC spokesperson Justin Mwinga however claimed that only 50 women out of the 1,340 who enrolled contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
But the ministry of health through its spokesperson Dr. Kamoto Mbewe has continued denying knowledge of the infections. Mbewe was quoted by ZNBC saying that the ministry has not received any report on the matter.
According to well placed sources, 1,340 HIV negative women were enrolled for the trial and that after 12 months it was discovered that nearly half of them had contracted the virus despite using the Gel.
And Dr Roger Tatoud, the senior programmes manager for Microbicide Development Programme, the organisation that was conducting the trials says the women who were infected were taken care of.
“I do not know the exact figure for the Zambian site, but overall, as indicated on our website 123 infections happened in the control group (for all countries) and 130 in the product group. 9385 women participated in the trial, so as you can see it is a very small number.
“When women were found to be infected with HIV they were taken care of by the health system. There is no reason to believe that they were more at risk by participating in the study. On the contrary, because they were given free condoms and also counselling about safe sex,’ he told the Watchdog online.