HIV-Killing Condom

The VivaGel condom, made by pharmaceutical company Starpharma, is the only condom of its kind to incorporate the antiviral compound, asodrimer sodium, in its lubricant. 

Lab tests show that it can "inactivate" up to 99.9 percent of HIV, herpes (HSV) and HPV, according to the company's press release. However, Dr. Anna-Barbara Moscicki, a pediatrics professor at University of California, San Francisco and an HPV expert, advises caution. She researched VivaGel as an intravaginal cream for women who wanted to protect themselves from viruses without using a condom, and found that it caused mild irritation and low-grade inflammation in study participants after two weeks of twice-daily use.

Inflammation is the body's response to an irritant or pathogen. When a part of the body is irritated, the body sends protective white blood cells like neutrophils and lymphocytes to the site of the injury to begin healing it.

But it's those very cells, explained Moscicki, that the HIV virus uses to replicate itself and spread throughout the body. If the lubricant irritates a vaginal wall to the point of inflammation, the body could send white blood cells straight to the site where they are most likely to come into contact with the HIV virus.

The VivaGel condom was just approved for use by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and will hit the market soon.



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