It comes as no surprise that scientists all over the world tire away trying to find out remedies and defences against different types of diseases. According to a study done in South Africa, there happens to be a drug that is used to treat AIDS, which could be used to create a vaginal gel that could provide protection against herpes. Dr. Salim Abdool Karim is a crucial member of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research. According to him, the potent gel is known as the tenofovir gel, a drug that could be the best form of guard against the disease for women, if only it receives approval and gets mass-produced.
As most people understand, genital herpes is a terrifying condition that infects even the best of us. While it is not fatal, it has its set of physical, mental and social implications that tend to bring down the patients. In South Africa, the rate of herpes infection is as high as 50-60%. Moreover, in the Sub-Saharan Africa, the rate is as sky-high as 80% among women! According to the gel research team, most genital ulcers are the result of genital herpes.
Condoms are, without a doubt, the best form of protection against genital herpes. However, they do not allow the coverage of the entire groin area, which leaves people with the chance of still acquiring it via contact.
A placebo gel is an inert gel that was used in a controlled experiment to test the efficacy of the tenofovir gel. What the experts did was provide the gel to a group of women (422 of them, to be exact), which resulted in an astounding annual infection rate of just 10.2%! In comparison, the women who took the placebo gel showed an annual infection rate of 21%. Basically, half of these women were given applicators along with the placebo gel, while the other half received applicators with the tenofovir gel. The key was to apply the gel within 12 hours before they had sex and within 12 hours after they had had sex. The results were taken off from the results seen over the course of 18 months. The gel worked finest for all those women who swore to use it at all times: the presence of the drug in the vagina decreased the chances of acquiring herpes to as low as 6% only.
Dr. Celum, also known as the director of the International Research Center at the University of Washington, agreed that the risks of herpes were highly reduced with the help of the gel. According to Dr. Celum, this gel holds a lot of importance, since there is a lack of methods of preventing the transfer of genital herpes during sex, aside from the use of condoms.
Dr. Salim has informed us that those who assume that taking tenofovir tablets might do the trick are mistaken. Although there will be a certain degree of effect, it will not do the same job as the tenofovir gel. The effect of tenofovir was found when working with HIV; oral tenofovir could very well prevent and treat HIV, reducing the chances of acquiring it to just 39%. Probably one of the best finds about this gel is that it has almost no side effects: the only possible side effect is a chance of facing diarrhoea. Since it is a gel formulation, a very low amount will be absorbed into the blood supply of the user, which will ensure least possible side effects. This fact will only encourage women to make use of the gel to the maximum. A few individuals voiced the fear of the tenofovir gel affecting the internals of the women who use it, such as the bones, kidneys, etc. However, the researchers have stated that the gel will most certainly not cause such harm to the body.
Possibly the biggest question concerning this gel is: how well are women going to embrace it and put it to use? Regarding the matter, Dr. Salim Karim has said that the marketing of the tenofovir gel depends entirely upon the degree of which women believe themselves to be at risk. He has also mentioned that most women do not really understand the graveness of the risk of acquiring herpes, today.