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Spermicidal gel
might also kill HIV

Spermicidal gel
might also kill HIV

A spermicidal gel being tested by researchers at Oregon Health and Science University may not only help women prevent pregnancy but also could kill HIV and other sexually transmitted pathogens, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The gel, called C31G and packaged in an applicator similar to a tampon's, contains no hormones and was shown to be well tolerated by women who used it in a small human trial.

Researchers previously thought that the spermicide nonoxynol-9 would also destroy HIV and help prevent other STDs, but research showed the compound irritated genital tissues and actually made HIV transmissions easier. C31G works in a similar way to nonoxynol-9, researchers say, but is not as irritating to cellular tissues.

Women are currently being enrolled in a larger study of the compound in South Africa to gauge its effectiveness in preventing HIV infections and other STDs. Early tests showed C31G is about 85% effective in preventing pregnancy.

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