01 March 2011

Rectal gel may ward off HIV

A gel that has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in women during vaginal sex has also shown promise toward preventing transmission during anal sex.


A gel that has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in women during vaginal sex has also shown promise preventing transmission during anal sex, US researchers said.

"HIV was significantly inhibited in tissue samples from participants who used tenofovir gel daily for one week, compared to tissue from participants who used the placebo gel," the study said.

The results came from the first clinical trial of tenofovir gel for rectal use, and were released at a medical conference in Boston. The study size was small, comprising just 18 men and women who were sexually abstinent and HIV negative, and who used the rectally applied gel for a week.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Pittsburgh then took biopsies of rectal tissue from the subjects and exposed the tissue to HIV in a lab to see how the product protected against infection.

They also tested an oral tablet and a single daily dose of rectal gel, and found that those methods provided no protection against HIV.

"We are very encouraged about these findings that indicate applying tenofovir gel topically to the rectum could be a promising approach to HIV prevention," said lead author Peter Anton, director of the Centre for Prevention Research at UCLA.

(Sapa, March 2011)

Read more:

HIV peer forum

HIV blocking gel for women


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria before working for an HIV/AIDS NPO in Soweto for many years. She was named one of the Mail & Guardian's Top 200 Young South Africans in 2012.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules