New research discovered a potential protective strategy from HIV in rectal tissue. A gel that contains a drug used in HIV prescriptions may guard rectal tissue from the AIDS-causing virus, a new study shows.
With the drug tenofovir, made by Gilead Sciences Inc, the gel has proven to significantly decrease HIV infections for women when the gel is applied inside the vaginal walls.
This new study, however, analyzed biopsies of rectal tissue. Tissue from men and women, both HIV-negative, was analyzed after using the gel each day over the course of seven days. The study is the first to show that the tenofovir gel may decrease HIV risks during anal sex.
Researchers discovered that the gel, originally intended for vaginal use, causes some harm to the anus, so scientists are working on a new formula.
Experts explain that HIV risks from anal sex far outweigh those from vaginal sex, as vaginal tissue is much thicker and more layered than anal tissue.
The tissue from HIV-negative individuals was analyzed in a laboratory, after being infected with HIV cells. Researchers discovered that the gel worked to effectively block HIV transmission, significantly more than a placebo gel.
Researchers also noticed that when taken orally, tenofovir did not decrease HIV transmission.