Gel Found to Reduce Risk of HIV and Herpes
January 31, 2012
A new gel developed to help fight HIV infection is even more effective at reducing the risk of herpes transmission, according to a study published online late last year. The gel’s active ingredient is tenofovir, a well-known drug used to treat AIDS. But what is really surprising is that the gel reduced the risk of herpes infection by 51 percent.
The clinical trials were especially well received because this gel is the first weapon women have that they can use all on their own. The gel is applied to the vulva and vagina a few hours before and after sex. Not only can women now access a form of protection that defends against both HIV and herpes, but it also doesn’t require a partner’s cooperation. This means if a male partner doesn’t know he is infected or outright lies to his female partner, she can still feel protected to some degree.
This is especially important given the rates of genital herpes infection among teens and young adults in the U.S. While a herpes infection is not life-threatening, it is also not curable. While the gel is still being researched and is years away from being approved for sale in the U.S., a simple gel that helps prevent the transmission of herpes would certainly be an easy way for teens to protect themselves from the virus.