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A study in the online edition of the journal AIDS shows that the anti-HIV drug Viread, when applied as a microbicide gel to block HIV infection, is safe and well-tolerated, Reuters Health reports. Researchers at Brown University studied 84 women, 24 of whom were HIV-positive, who used the Viread gel daily for two weeks. The study showed that the gel was well-tolerated, with only mildly adverse reactions reported. Among the HIV-positive women, no new mutations were detected in their virus that would convey resistance to Viread or to any other anti-HIV drug. About 94% of the women said they would definitely or probably use the gel if it were available on the market to protect themselves against HIV.
Researchers say the Viread gel may be effective in preventing HIV infections by shutting down the virus's ability to replicate in the body. The gel, currently being tested only in heterosexual women, also could be useful for preventing HIV infections among gay men who engage in anal sex, some AIDS experts believe.
Clinical trials are currently under way in New York City and India to gauge the effectiveness of the Viread gel in preventing HIV infections. Studies also are being conducted in the United States, Thailand, and Africa to determine if daily use of Viread pills is effective in preventing HIV infections. (Advocate.com)