Researchers claim that a new type of lube, used as an additive to condoms, is 99.9% effective in preventing sexually transmitted infections – including HIV – from transferring between partners.
VivaGel was developed by Australian bio-tech firm Starpharma, and having just been approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration looks set to hit the shelves within several months.
The lube acts as a barrier and antiviral which can deactivate viruses like herpes and HPV, too.
Starpharma is rumoured to be teaming up with Ansell, the company that has a hold on most of the Australian condom market. That’d mean big news for Aussies who use condoms during sex.
“Condoms are not 100 per cent effective in preventing either pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections,” Dr. Jackie Farley, chief executive of Starpharma, said.
“So anything that you can do to reduce the number of virus particles by inactivating them with a substance like VivaGel would reduce overall viral load.”
STI rates are an on-going problem in Australia with one in eight people under 25 estimated to have genital herpes, and last year HIV infection rates were at a 20-year high. If VivaGel takes off, we could see a dramatic (and much needed) drop in those rates.
Pending approval, the US and Japan are also hopping on the bandwagon, and are said to be planning to launch the product within the next few months.