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Nat Rev Immunol. 2006 May;6(5):371-82.

Microbicides and other topical strategies to prevent vaginal transmission of HIV.

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  • 1Case Western Reserve University, 2061 Cornell Road, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. MXL6@case.edu

Abstract

The HIV epidemic is, by many criteria, the worst outbreak of infectious disease in history. The rate of new infections is now approximately 5 million per year, mainly in the developing world, and is increasing. Women are now substantially more at risk of infection with HIV than men. With no cure or effective vaccine in sight, a huge effort is required to develop topical agents (often called microbicides) that, applied to the vaginal mucosa, would prevent infection of these high-risk individuals. We discuss the targets for topical agents that have been identified by studies of the biology of HIV infection and provide an overview of the progress towards the development of a usable agent.

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