Tenofovir gel may also reduce HIV transmission rates during anal sex

while the oral form provided little protection against HIV, the subjects who applied the tenofovir gel daily greatly improved their tissue's ability to block the virus.

While three out of four participants said they would use the gel again, two subjects did suffer from diarrhea and lower abdominal cramps. Researchers are currently refining the formula and considering adding less glycerin to make the gel less abrasive for rectal use.

While the gel is not yet available in the U.S., the FDA promises to put the drug on the fast track for approval as an HIV prevention method for women after receiving the results of a more comprehensive study of the drug by Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic (VOICE). This large scale study of tenofovir gel and the oral form, Truvada, involving 5,000 South African women, is expected to be completed in 2013.

Tenofovir gel has been viewed primarily as a safeguard for women who don't always have a say in whether their partner uses a condom. However, I'm baffled as to why no one is bringing up the potential of infusing the spermicidal lube on condoms or in personal lubricants with the drug as added protection. If marketed to Americans as a deterrent against HIV, the gel may start to be used as a less efficient substitute for condoms instead of as a backup plan if the condom breaks.  Unfortunately approving the gel for use with condoms will require additional testing to study the effects of the drug on latex, which will take even more time.

when applied in the vagina in previous trials, reduced HIV infection by 34% compared with placebo

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Preliminary studies of a gel infused with the antiretroviral drug Tenofovir have shown the drug's ability to reduce HIV transmission rates by nearly forty percent when applied to the vagina before or after unprotected sex. Now a new study has revealed the drug's potential for reducing HIV infections during anal sex.

The University of Pittsburgh and Magee-Womens Research Institute recruited eighteen men and women who were sexually abstinent and HIV negative to apply the gel or take an oral form of tenofovir for a week. Participants applied the first six doses of tenofovir gel, or placebo gel, at home, while the final dose was administered in the lab. Biopsies were taken from the rectal tissue of the subjects before and after treatment. These tissue samples were then exposed to HIV. Researchers found that

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