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Study shows microbicide gel may prevent HIV transmission

Category: HIV

A study published in the journal PLoS Pathogens was conducted by researchers at the European Combined Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Microbicides (CHAARM) consortium, shows that a newly developed microbicide gel may be able to prevent patients from contracting HIV.

The gel's active ingredient are peptides known as miniCD4s that act like the body's receptors where the HIV virus can access the body. Earlier laboratory research showed that the miniCD4s were able to prevent HIV from accessing individual cells in a dish as well as mucous membranes in a tissue sample.

The research investigators produced a gel with the miniCD4 peptides. It was put into six female cynomolgus macaques monkeys. An hour later, the doctors introduced the HIV virus into the vaginas of the primates. The virus was not present in the tissues of any of the animals, and there were no reactive antibodies detected. This demonstrates that the virus was completely inhibited from entering the monkeys' systems.

HIV statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1,148,200 people who were at least 13 years old were estimated to have HIV at the end of 2009, 18 percent of whom had not been diagnosed with the condition.

The source also reports that approximately 50,000 people contract HIV annually in the U.S. and in 2009, a recorded 48,100 people were diagnosed with the disease.

Further HIV prevention
Additional non-medical means of HIV prevention, recommended by Avert.org, are HIV testing, using condoms, circumcision and family planning. There are also treatment methods that can lower a patient's viral load and reduce his or her risk of transmitting the virus. Some HIV treatments are used to prevent mothers from passing on the disease to their children during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, and they are also used by couples who may be exposed to HIV.

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