A new STD prevention method may well be coming to a drugstore near you.
Researchers at the International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA) have been working tirelessly on creating a “rectal microbicide” gel that they believe could help prevent the transmission of HIV and other STDs.
According to HIVequal:
A rectal microbicide is a topical substance, which may come in the form or a lube, anal douche, or a wash, that is being developed and tested to reduce a person’s risk of HIV and other STIs.
Although most research on microbicides has focused on vaginal intercourse, it is reported that anal intercourse increases the risk of HIV infection by as much as 10 to 20 percent. Researchers are now looking at the rectal safety of microbicide gels originally formulated for vaginal sex.
Sounds A-OK to us! But also hardly a reason to give up condoms or stop that essential PrEP regimen. In fact, it probably will be best used in combination with other prevention measures.
Clinical trials are already underway, but so far the application is limited to “rectal microbicide using applicators” (i.e. enemas), which researchers agree are “decidedly unsexy,” so work continues with “scientists, advocates, ethicists, and community members” on finding a less intrusive form of application.
Next on researchers’ agenda is conducting a trial in which couples will “take a microbicide gel and apply it with fingers and penises, and then test to see if enough drug gets to where it needs to go rectally.”
Sounds like our kind of study.