The Louisville Cardinal

New gel may help prevent transmission of HIV and herpes

By Valerio Rasi–

A new product, “CAPRISA (Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa) 004” is part of joint venture between the U.S. and South African governments. The scope of this research is to create a gel able to replicate the properties of the antiviral drug already used against AIDS infection.

“The tenofovir (name of the component)formulated as a topical gel and inserted into the female genital tract has great promise for use in HIV and herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) prevention,” said the press release. This experiment could be particularly useful in Africa, where 22.5 million are infected and 1.6 million people die every year.

The advantages of this new discovery, capable of reducing AIDS infection of the infected 39 percent and genital herpes of the infected 51 percent, are not limited to just that part of the world, but include U.S. college students. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that most of the people with a STD do not warn their partners.

“This gel would allow for those women who are not mutually exclusive and not avid condom users to have a way to protect themselves against the transmission of HIV from their male partners.” said Dashia Day, a senior majoring in infectious diseases and nursing.

The population between the ages of 15-22 has a higher STD infection rate than in the past. Although many organizations advise using condoms during sexual intercourse, part of the population still does not. Chlamydia infections rise by 2.8 percent every year.

“I think this trial right now has made some great discoveries which will open doors to new ideas and research. Also, I love the fact it’s for women to protect themselves instead of women relying on the men,” said Day.

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Photo courtesy CAPRISA