Re-formulation of microbicidal lubricants will help protect from HIV

Microbicides can be used to protect against HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases, either on their own or with the added protection of a condom. New research published by BioMed Central’s open access journal AIDS Research and Therapy has investigated the use of lubricants, originally designed for vaginal application, and has developed and tested new, rectal specific, formulations.

Unprotected sex is one of the major ways that HIV spreads through the population. However most research has focused on the production of vaginal microbicides which, due to differences in pH, native bacterial populations (microflora), and thickness of the epithelium, may not be safe as rectal microbicides. Researchers at the Magee Woman’s Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh, have shown that some mineral oil and silicone-based lubricants, but not the water-based ones they tested, significantly weakened the integrity of condoms making them more likely to break.

With this in mind Prof. Rohan’s group has formulated four different lubricants, both water and lipid based, and in different formats, as a fluid or gel, which are currently being tested in clinical trials. Prof. Rohan said, “This is the first stage in the production of targeted microbicidal products. If successful these lubricants will provide a basis for the inclusion of different types of antibiotics, antivirals, and other drugs. Once completed these products will help reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted disease and bring hope in the fight to stop the spread of HIV.

Notes to Editors

1. Rectal microbicides: clinically relevant approach to the design of rectal specific placebo formulations

Lin Wang, Roger L Schnaare, Charlene Dezzutti, Peter A. Anton, and Lisa C. Rohan

AIDS Research and Therapy (in press)

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central’s open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. AIDS Research and Therapy is an open access, peer reviewed journal publishing basic science and clinically important research articles to help abate the spread of AIDS.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

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