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Promising HIV prevention microbicide tenofovir gel being tested for safety of rectal use
Date:10/12/2010

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 13, 2010 Tenofovir gel, a vaginal microbicide that has shown promise for preventing HIV through vaginal sex, is being tested in a new trial looking at its safety and acceptability when used rectally. The results of the study, being led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), will help determine if the gel should be evaluated further for its potential to prevent HIV among both men and women who engage in receptive anal intercourse.

While condoms are generally effective for protecting against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, most acts of anal sex go unprotected. Moreover, the risk of acquiring HIV through unprotected anal sex is at least 20 times greater than unprotected vaginal sex and increases if other infections are already present in the rectal lining.

Microbicides substances applied topically on the inside of the rectum or vagina could potentially help prevent the rectal transmission of HIV, although considerably more research has been conducted looking at microbicides for preventing transmission of HIV through vaginal sex. Tenofovir gel, for example, is a candidate microbicide specifically developed to prevent vaginal transmission of HIV.

The new study, known as MTN-007, is the second early phase trial evaluating the rectal safety of the vaginal product. It also comes on the heels of CAPRISA 004, a Phase IIb study conducted in South Africa that found tenofovir gel significantly reduced the risk of HIV among at-risk women who were instructed to use the gel before and after vaginal sex. In an ongoing, large-scale effectiveness trial called VOICE Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic, the MTN is testing daily use of tenofovir gel in African women, with results expected in 2013.

"We can't just assume that a product developed for use as a vaginal microbicide will be equally safe or effective when used in the rectum for prevent
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Contact: Lisa Rossi
rossil@upmc.edu
412-916-3315
Microbicide Trials Network
Source:Eurekalert

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