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CROI: Rectal Gel May Guard Against HIV

Last Updated: February 28, 2011.

Tenofovir gel, developed to protect against HIV during vaginal sex, appears to have a strong antiviral effect when used in the rectum, according to a study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, held from Feb. 27 to March 2 in Boston.

MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Tenofovir gel, developed to protect against HIV during vaginal sex, appears to have a strong antiviral effect when used in the rectum, according to a study presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, held from Feb. 27 to March 2 in Boston.

Peter Anton, M.D., the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues tested tenofovir gel and oral tenofovir in 18 sexually abstinent, HIV-negative men and women to compare the anti-HIV activity of a single dose of oral tenofovir to a single dose of rectally-applied tenofovir; the second regimen of the trial compared one-week rectal application of tenofovir gel or a placebo gel.

The researchers found that the single dose of tenofovir gel had a slight, but not statistically significant antiviral effect, while the single oral dose of tenofovir offered no protection. HIV was, however, significantly inhibited in the patients who applied the gel daily for a week compared with those who used the placebo gel.

"These kinds of efforts early in the development phase of rectal microbicides can give us insight into a particular product's potential efficacy, which enables us to better design and hasten the pace of future clinical trials," Anton said in a statement.

Both the oral and topical formulations of tenofovir were developed by Gilead Sciences Inc. and CONRAD. Gilead and CONRAD provided study products free of charge.

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