The gel has shown promise for vaginal and rectal administration. The team, which includes the research team at ImQuest BioSciences, Duke University and University of Pittsburgh, created this safe gel which goes beyond current products which are only for vaginal administration.
"It is recognized that both vaginal and rectal intercourse occur during the same sexual act, so a single product that is safe for both compartments makes sense in terms of convenience, which is likely to result in higher compliance." said team member Anthony Ham.
Since the environments of the vagina and rectum are different, tests were performed on both kinds of tissue to check for safety and effectiveness of the gel. After the tissues were exposed to HIV, it was seen that both kinds of tissue first absorbed the gel and then prevented the infection from spreading in vitro and ex vivo vaginal and in rectal environments.
There are 35.3 million people living with HIV worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and the virus is spread most often through both vaginal and anal intercourse.