Scientific Publications

Microbicides for the prevention of HIV infection in women: an overview of recent trials

The inability to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS over the past 25 years has resulted in an unprecedented level of research into new prevention technologies. Areas of focus include HIV vaccines, drugs used as pre-exposure pro- phylactic agents, better condoms including female con- doms, and microbicides. Microbicides, drugs applied topically to genital mucosal surfaces to prevent the trans- mission of sexually transmitted infections, in particular HIV/AIDS, are being explored for their potential safety and efficacy. First-generation microbicides are gel- based, broadly reactive products that are designed either to disrupt the viral membrane, buffer vaginal acidity in the presence of semen, or non-specifically block the attachment of HIV to its target cells. These products are designed to be used with each act of intercourse, and are generally delivered in disposable vaginal applicators.

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