A new approach to HIV prevention with a Gel for women

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hiv-gel-womenResearch has been ongoing for some time now and it can now be confirmed that a gel that can be used by woman after having intercourse to protect them against HIV may soon be a reality.

This breakthrough could lead to the new ways of fighting the HIV virus that continues to spread around the World, leaving women in particular at risk of contracting the disease.

Large scale clinical testing would need to be done to test the potential new treatment, and scientists say that condoms are still the best protection against being infected with HIV. The reason that condoms are still the best is that they create a barrier between the infected and the uninfected and on a personal note, I cannot imagine why anyone would want to take the risk of becoming infected when there is a simple and readily available form of pretection in a condom!

In human clinical tests, the results of the gel have had mixed success. There are so many variables when people are administering the gel either themselves or by a partner.  Is enough gel applied, is it applied correctly… you name it there are many more variables.

In the most recent research done by scientists they tried a new HIV treatment in monkeys that showed the potential to work after the monkeys had already been exposed to the HIV virus.

The results from these tests showed that after applying the gel, either just before, or after 3 hours, the gel protected 5 out of the six monkeys. This is impressive and p

The tests were done by The centers for disease control and prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.  They said that it is a proof of concept in an animal model.

Dr Charles Dobard (of the division of HIV/Aids prevention), was quoted saying to BBC News that this is a promising after-sex vaginal gel to prevent the HIV infection.

More studies will need to be done in order to look at the window of opportunity – 6,8 or 24 hours?

The tests have only been done on a small number of monkeys that were infected with a combination of HIV and a related monkey virus.

There are still some obstacles before the treatment can be done on human beings.

This gel contains a different class of anti-HIV drug.  It attacks the HIV virus at a later stage in  infection which potentially allows it to be used after being exposed to the infection.

Dr Andrew Freedman who is reader and consultant in infectious diseases at the Cardiff University school of Medicine said that this is proof of concept that such a topically applied gel, which is applied post-coitally, might be effective in the prevention of HIV transmission in humans.

He also said that caution is necessary because it has only been tested on a few monkeys, and it failed to protect against infection in one of the monkeys.

It would require much larger human trials before the gel would be able to be licensed for routine use.

This gel would be another small step forward, says Jason Warriner (clinical director at Oterrence Higgins Trust), especially in the countries that have high  HIV rates and that have cultural barriers to condom use that have created the perfect storm.

He also added that no microbicide has yet been found that could offer full protection against HIV.

Still to date, condoms are still the best preventative measure against HIV infection around the globe. Don’t put yourself at risk, condoms are available and in most countries around the World very cheap or FREE. Use a condom and live longer, it’s as simple as that!

Adapted from the original article at BBC.com

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