Although important strides have been made in treating HIV, HIV prevention continues to be great a challenge. Approximately 2 million people acquire HIV annually – about 5,600 every day.
Efforts to promote abstinence, monogamy, and condom use have not been enough to stop the epidemic. Plus for many people, these approaches are not practical. Microbicides may represent another method for preventing HIV transmission.
Microbicides are products applied inside the vagina or rectum to prevent HIV transmission through sex. Most microbicides that are being tested include antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, which fight the virus. There are several types of microbicides in development and testing today.
So far, one microbicide product has been approved for people to use: the dapivirine vaginal ring for HIV prevention in cisgender women. Finding more microbicide products that are safe and effective would be very important to the global response against HIV/AIDS, especially for populations who face structural factors that increase their likelihood of acquiring HIV. These include cisgender women of color, adolescents, pregnant and breastfeeding women, men who have sex with men, and transgender women.
“Microbicides are potentially just one tool in a whole armamentarium of different potential strategies to combat HIV transmission.”
“Some products are women-centered where we may be able to take some type of gel and use it to prevent transmission. We could use it discreetly and insert it in our own bodies.”