Medical News Today reported this week that a recent study conducted by the UCLA AIDS Institute indicated an anti-HIV topical gel could be effective in substantially reducing the risk of infection in tissue exposed to HIV.

While this early clinical trial’s primary purpose was to test the safety of the drug—a topically applied gel containing a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor—the study’s lead author, Dr. Peter Anton, indicated that he was pleased that the study had indirectly pointed to the drug’s potential effectiveness in reducing the risk of HIV infection in real patients.

The gel is intended to be applied topically to areas of sexual contact before intercourse. This particular trial was also notable because it continued a relatively recent trend in microbicide trials to use rectal tissue, rather than vaginal tissue, which has historically been more commonly used in similar trials. Though the drug itself was developed originally for vaginal use, this trial was conducted using rectal tissue samples from 36 subjects, both male and female.

According to Dr. Anton, the risk of HIV infection through anal-receptive intercourse is substantially higher than that of vaginal-receptive sex for both men and women. The risk of infection is even higher in patients already carrying another sexually transmitted infection.

The research team that conducted this trial has also developed a similar product specifically for rectal use, and plan to start testing it early next year.

For more information regarding HIV prevention, contact a physician today.