In the August 10, 2009 issue of the Advanced Functional Materials journal, a paper was published describing the HIV-blocking properties of a gel that could prevent the transmission of HIV by physically stopping the virus in its tracks (1). Unlike existing microbicides (which were reported on in an earlier issue of the SACEMA Quarterly) (2), this “molecular condom” appears not to be affected by high temperatures, making it potentially suitable for use in hot developing countries. However, the gel’s ability to trap HIV has only been shown in the laboratory and clinical trials are at least three years away. If it works it will enable women to protect themselves against HIV without approval from their partners.
- Jay JI, Shukair S, Langheinrich K, et al. Modulation of Viscoelasticity and HIV Transport as a Function of pH in a Reversibly Crosslinked Hydrogel. Adv Funct Mater. 10 August 2009;Epub ahead of print. Link to abstract
- Gerritsen AAM. Lancet reports: Carraguard not effective in prevention of HIV. SACEMA Quarterly, issue March 2009. http://www.sacemaquarterly.com/index.php?page=detailview&p_id=3&d_id=4 Accessed September 1, 2009