Publications & Reports

Vaginal microbicides to prevent human immunodeficiency virus infection in women: perspectives on the female genital tract, sexual maturity and mucosal inflammation.

Lindi Roberts, Lenine Liebenberg, Shaun Barnabas, Jo-Ann Passmore
Division of Medical Virology, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa.


Topically applied vaginal microbicides to protect against human immunodeficiency (HIV) virus infection offer an important female-controlled prevention strategy. Microbicides have been in development for more than 2 decades, and have included various agents that disrupt cellular and microbial membranes (surfactants), restore the natural acidic protective pH of the vagina (acid buffers), and those that interfere with interactions between HIV envelope proteins and cellular receptors (anionic polymers). Although none of these candidate microbicides have shown significant protection against HIV in clinical trials, a topical gel, including the antiretroviral drug tenofovir (TFV) 1% was the first microbicide to be tested to show some protection against HIV infection. This review explores the effect of female genital tract biology and anatomy, mucosal inflammation, and age on the effectiveness of microbicides to prevent HIV infection.


  • Journal: Best Practice & Research. Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology
  • Published: 01/08/2012
  • Volume: 26
  • Issue: 4
  • Pagination: 441-449