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Use of lubricants with anal sex could increase risk of HIV
Date:5/25/2010

PITTSBURGH, May 23 The risk of acquiring HIV through unprotected anal sex is at least 20 times greater than with unprotected vaginal sex and increases if other infections are already present in the rectal lining. Could the use of lubricants at least certain kinds be another risk factor among men and women who engage in receptive anal intercourse? Two studies presented today at the International Microbicides Conference in Pittsburgh, suggest the answer is yes.

In one study involving nearly 900 men and women in Baltimore and Los Angeles, the researchers found that those who used lubricants were three times more likely to have rectal sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Another study that subjected popular over-the-counter and mail-order lubricants to rigorous laboratory tests discovered that many of the products were toxic to cells and rectal tissue. If in humans, these products have the same effect, the cells might be rendered more vulnerable targets for HIV infection than they already are.

In the United States alone, receptive anal intercourse is practiced in up to 90 percent of gay and other men who have sex with men, according to International Rectal Microbicides Advocates. Moreover, the practice is not limited to men. U.S. estimates and surveys in the United Kingdom indicate between 10 to 35 percent of heterosexual women have engaged in anal sex at least once. Globally, estimates suggest 5 to 10 percent of sexually active women are having anal sex. While condoms are generally effective for protecting against HIV and other STIs, most acts of anal sex go unprotected.

Microbicides substances applied topically on the inside of the rectum or vagina could potentially help prevent the rectal transmission of HIV, and some are being tested in early Phase I safety studies. Another approach called oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) involves the use of antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of HIV in HIV-negative people. A large Ph
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Contact: Lisa Rossi
rossil@upmc.edu
412-916-3315
Microbicides 2010 (International Conference on Microbicides)
Source:Eurekalert

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