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Sensory-tested drug-delivery vehicle could limit spread of HIV, AIDS
Date:8/28/2014

so a drug-dispersing suppository can protect against transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections during heterosexual intercourse with a partner whose infection status may or may not be known to the woman."

As part of the research, Zaveri, who earned her doctorate in biomedical engineering at the University of Florida, conducted extensive sensory-perception testing to assess acceptability of the suppositories among women. Women participating in the study at the Sensory Evaluation Center in Penn State's Department of Food Science were presented with suppositories -- without the drug -- in a variety of sizes, shapes and textures. They indicated their preferences and rated the suppositories for willingness to try and imagined ease of insertion.

The initial evaluations all were done only in the hand as part of this preclinical development effort. Many factors go into making choices, Zaveri explained, such as vaginal products women may have used previously, as well as their sexual and cultural practices. Understanding women's perception of the suppository and reasons behind their choices is a critical step in the development of the suppository as a vaginal drug-delivery system.

Zaveri also studied the release of Tenofovir from the suppositories in a simulated vaginal environment to ensure that the drug will be released once inserted in the body, even in the presence of semen.

"Many people work on drug delivery and use different methods to create drug-delivery products, but not many focus on the end-user aspect of this," she said. "Obviously, the product can be effective only if it is acceptable to women and they use it. We have gone a step farther with this study to validate the acceptability of our suppositories among women -- and that's critical. We are not just trying to make our product better, we also are trying to understand the reasoning behind the choices women make regarding vaginal drug delivery in general."

Zaveri note
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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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