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Microbicide Development

A microbicide is a substance such as a gel, cream, sponge, suppository or film that can significantly reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Microbicides have been developed to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papilloma virus (HPV), herpes virus and other STDs. They are intended to be used vaginally or rectally and may provide protection against STDs for several hours, or even for days. Some microbicides under development are contraceptive and some are non-contraceptive.

A microbicide may work to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STD infection by killing sperm and STD pathogens, blocking infections by STD pathogens by creating a barrier between the pathogen and the reproductive tract (vagina and cervix) or rectum, and/or preventing virus (HIV or herpes virus, for example) from replicating once it has entered the body.

Microbicides are woman-controlled methods of STD protection, and therefore do not rely on a partner's use of a condom. In addition to protecting a woman from STDs and pregnancy, it is believed that a man would be protected if his partner used a microbicide.

Microbicides are not available on the market. Scientists are studying new substances such as ReProtect's microbicide, BufferGel®, to see whether they prevent the spread of HIV and other STDs. BufferGel is one of a handful of products under development being evaluated for safety and efficacy in humans.

The effort to increase funding for microbicide research and to increase private investment in microbicide development has reached a critical stage. Several organizations are leading the charge for microbicide development including the Alliance for Microbicide Development, the Globacl Campaign for Microbicides, the Global Microbicide Project, and the International Partnership for Microbicides. We need such a heroic effort in the microbicide field. To end the suffering that accompanies unwanted pregnancy and STD infection, such an effort could, quite literally, change the world.


Links to websites of interest for Microbicide Development and STD Prevention:

Alliance for Microbicide Development

California Microbicides Initiative

Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS)

Contraceptive Research and Development Program (CONRAD)

Family Health International

Global Campaign for Microbicides and Prevention Options for Women

Global Microbicide Project

International Center for Research on Women

Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)

Reproductive Health Technologies Project

The Alan Guttmacher Institute

The Body

The Population Council


This section was prepared with assistance from the document, "Topical Microbicides: New Hope for STI/HIV Prevention," by Lori Heise.


Sub Category: Mission

Last updated 11/24/08  |  Legal Information  |  Copyright ReProtect Inc., 2003-2008