Now, an HIV blocking gel for women
WASHINGTON: Scientists have actually developed a “molecular condom”, which they claim is actually a vaginal gel that would certainly help protect women from contracting the deadly HIV during sexual intercourse.
According to them, before sex, women would certainly have actually to insert the vaginal gel that turns semisolid in the presence of semen, trapping AIDS virus particles in a microscopic mesh so they can’t infect vaginal cells.
“The first step in the complicated process of HIV infection in a woman is the virus diffusing from semen to vaginal tissue. We want to stop that first step. We’ve created the first vaginal gel designed to prevent movement of the AIDS virus. This is unique. There’s nothing like it.
“We did it to develop technologies that can enable women to protect themselves versus HIV without approval of their partner,” said lead scientist Prof Patrick Kiser of the University of Utah.
According to the scientists, due to cultural and socioeconomic factors, women often are unable to negotiate the use of protection along with their partner.
“So we developed a vaginal gel that a woman could insert a few hours before sex and could detect the presence of semen and provide a protective barrier between the vaginal tissue and HIV. We wanted to build a gel to stop HIV from interacting along with vaginal tissue.
“It flows at a vaginal pH, and the flow becomes slower and slower as pH increases, and it begins to act more solid at the pH of semen,” co-scientist Julie Jay said.
The scientists estimate that if all goes well, human examinations of the gel would certainly start in three to five years, and the gel would certainly reach the market in several more years.
The findings of their experiment testing the behaviour of the vaginal gel and showing how it traps AIDS-causing HIV particles are to be published in the upcoming edition of the ‘Advanced Functional Materials’ journal.