February 28, 2011
New research presented at the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston, Feb. 27-March 2, shows that a gel containing tenofovir may help prevent HIV when used rectally.
The gel containing Gilead Sciences Inc.'s AIDS drug has been previously shown to sharply reduce HIV infection in women when used vaginally. The HIV transmission risk from unprotected anal sex may be more than 20 times greater than unprotected vaginal sex, partly because the rectal lining is just one-cell thick compared to the vagina's multiple cell layers. Thus, HIV can more easily reach cells to infect, said researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Peter Anton, director of the Center for Prevention Research at UCLA, and colleagues studied rectal tissue biopsies from HIV-negative men and women who used the tenofovir gel or a placebo gel daily for one week. Tissue samples were sent to a laboratory where they were exposed to HIV. The samples showed HIV was significantly blocked in participants using the tenofovir gel compared to those using the placebo. An oral dose of tenofovir did not appear to provide protection against HIV.
02.28.2011; Deena Beasley
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