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Microbicides are topical products for vaginal or rectal use that are designed to prevent HIV infection.

Microbicides are considered to be a woman-friendly technology that will allow the receptive partner to have more autonomy in protecting herself against HIV infection.

Rectal microbicides could be used by both women and men who have receptive anal sex.

Microbicides are also used in vaginal rings which are inserted into the vagina and slowly release the drugs over time.

Microbicides are only available through clinical trials. Trials to date have not had promising results.

This page links to current research projects and results, and to microbicide research organisations and partnerships.

Please note these links will take you to external websites.

Current research

The MTN-017 trial is evaluating whether a tenofovir gel is safe and acceptable as a rectal microbicide. The gel is being trialled in conjunction with daily use of Truvada, among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women in Peru, South Africa, Thailand and the United States. Results are expected early 2016. More info ...

The ASPIRE trial in four African countries is trialling a vaginal ring containing dapivirine. Results are expected late 2015 or early 2016. More info ...


Recent trial results

The VOICE microbicide gel trial provided mixed results on a vaginal gel containing tenofovir. Only 25-30% of women in this African study used the gel, pointing to issues with adherence, and although among those who used it there was a 66% reduction in HIV infection, this may have been because those women were not at high risk of acquiring HIV. More info ...

The FACTS 001 study found that tenofovir gel was not effective at stopping HIV transmission among young women in South Africa, with no difference in infections between women given the tenofovir gel, and those given a placebo. More info ...

The MTN-013/IPM 026 trial of a vaginal ring which contained antiretroviral (ARV) drugs dapivirine and maraviroc found that the ring was acceptable to women but that only dapivirine was effective in blocking HIV. More info ...


Useful Links

International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) IPM is a non-profit product development partnership which aims to prevent HIV transmission by accelerating the development and availability of a safe and effective microbicide for women in developing countries.

International Rectal Microbicide Advocates (IRMA) IRMA is a network of over 1,200 advocates, policymakers and scientists working together to advance rectal microbicide research and development. See also: IRMA Facebook page

Microbicide Trials Network The Microbicide Trials Network is an international collaborative clinical trials network focusing on the development and evaluation of microbicides.

This page was published on 12 January, 2011

This page was reviewed on 28 August 2015