New Condom's HIV-Killing Gel Could Cause Irritation In Some Users, Warns Researcher
Last week the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the use of the VivaGel condom — a condom that (according to its manufacturer) “[inactivates] up to 99.9% of viruses, including HIV, the herpes virus (HSV), and the human papillomavirus (HPV), which are common viruses that cause sexually transmitted infections” — making it potentially available to consumers in the near future.
The condoms use VivaGel, a non-antibiotic and anti-microbial gel made of astrodrimer sodium that reportedly gives the condom its trademark protective coating.
However, according to University of California pediatrics professor Dr. Anna-Barbara Moscicki, women in a study who used high concentrations of VivaGel twice a week to protect themselves against STIs experienced “mild irritation and low-grade inflammation,” conditions which could actually aid HIV transmission instead of preventing it.
However, “Moscicki's trials involved 3 percent VivaGel, Starpharma used 1 percent” and “Moscicki wasn't privy to any of Starpharma's research… and concedes that perhaps the amount of VivaGel on the condom is so small that it might not have the same harmful side effects as using VivaGel alone as a vaginal cream.”