Microbicides

What are microbicides?

  • Microbicides are products to help protect people against  HIV.
  • Microbicides are being developed and tested for use in the vagina and rectum to prevent or reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV.
  • The main goal of microbicides is to protect against HIV, but they may also protect against other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Microbicides are under development in many forms, but are mainly being tested as gels and vaginal rings.     

How do microbicides work?

  • Microbicides may prevent the transmission of HIV by blocking the attachment of HIV to cells or by preventing the infection from spreading.
  • Microbicides may help protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, but they are not a cure for HIV.  

How do we need microbicides?

  • HIV is an epidemic in many populations and places around the world, and people need options to protect themselves
  • Condoms are an effective HIV prevention method, but many people can’t or don’t use them every time they have sex.
  • Microbicides represent an HIV prevention strategy that doesn’t have to be controlled by one’s sexual partner.

When will a vaginal or rectal microbicide be available to the public?

  • All drugs go through a lengthy development and testing process over many years before a product is determined safe and effective for people to use.
  • Scientists are currently testing various types of microbicides, but none has yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use outside of clinical studies.
  • The safety and effectiveness of microbicides must be established separately for vaginal and rectal use before any product can be approved for widespread use. 
  • Once proven effective and approved, microbicides will be an essential tool to help control the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Watch this informative video on microbicides:

Meet the people making a difference in HIV prevention research.