Genital inflammation undermines the effectiveness of tenofovir gel in preventing HIV acquisition in women

Journal: Nature Medicine

Published: 2018-02-26

DOI: 10.1038/nm.4506

Affiliations: 8

Authors: 14

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Research Highlight

Inflammation undermines HIV prevention

© Science Photo Library - MEHAU KULYK/Getty

© Science Photo Library - MEHAU KULYK/Getty

Genital inflammation interferes with the effectiveness of a topical gel to prevent HIV acquisition.

A South African-led team, including researchers from the University of Cape Town, measured levels of nine inflammatory molecules in vaginal tract cells collected from sexually active young women who participated in a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of a microbicidal gel designed to prevent HIV infection.

They found that the prophylactic gel worked well among women without genital inflammation: the therapy reduced HIV infections by 75 per cent relative to the placebo when applied as directed for most sexual interactions. There was no such protection, however, among women with elevated inflammatory markers in the vaginal environment, even with proper usage of the gel.

The findings suggest that reducing genital inflammation could enhance the ability of antiretroviral gels to thwart HIV transmission during sex in at-risk populations.

Supported content

  1. Nature Medicine 24, 491–496 (2018). doi: 10.1038/nm.4506
Institutions Share
Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), South Africa 0.43
Department of Medical Microbiology, UKZN, South Africa 0.15
University of Manitoba, Canada 0.12
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), China 0.07
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), United States of America (USA) 0.07
Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), CU, United States of America (USA) 0.07
University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa 0.06
National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), South Africa 0.02