A vaginal microbicide is a microbicide for vaginal use. Most commonly such a product would be a topical gel or cream inserted into the vagina so that it may treat some infection in the vagina, such as types of vaginitis.
Along with rectal microbicides, vaginal microbicides are currently the subject of medical research on microbicides for sexually transmitted diseases to determine the circumstances under which and the extent to which they provide protection against infection. Researchers are trying to develop a product which would act as protection against the contraction of a sexually transmitted infection during vaginal sexual intercourse.
Vaginal microbicides for sexually transmitted diseases
Scientists are trying to develop effective microbicides to reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection, and in particular, to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.
Researchers have investigated who has interest in using a vaginal microbicide. Condoms are highly effective in preventing the transmission of infection, but worldwide, the decision to use condoms is more often a decision made by males than females. A vaginal microbicide which could prevent sexual transmission of infection would further empower women to influence the result of their sexual encounters. The demographic interested in using the produce included women with the following characteristics:
The number of women interested in using such a product has been characterized as being significant enough to merit product development and marketing.
The ideal vaginal microbicide would have the following characteristics:
- provide protection against infection
- not require application at the time of intercourse
- not harm the natural tissue
The criteria of not harming natural tissue has been the most troublesome aspect of product design.
Several unrelated chemical mechanisms have been proposed for vaginal microbicides. In all cases, the medicine would be contained in a gel or cream substrate and then inserted into the vagina, where the medicine would activate.
Blocking HIV binding
- Weber, J.; Desai, K.; Darbyshire, J.; Microbicides Development Programme (2005). "The Development of Vaginal Microbicides for the Prevention of HIV Transmission". PLoS Medicine 2 (5): e142. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020142. PMC 1140953. PMID 15916473.
- Darroch, Jacqueline E.; Jennifer J. Frost (January–February 1998). "Women's Interest in Vaginal Microbicides". Family Planning Perspectives 31 (1). Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- Laurence, Jeffery; Johnston, Rowena (19 February 2009). "The Promise of an Effective Vaginal Microbicide". amfar.org. Retrieved 20 November 2011.