Fast-dissolving anal insert found safe for protecting against HIV

It could provide protection for up to three days after use

“Not everyone wants to take a tablet every day or go to a clinic for long-acting injectable PrEP,” said Sharon Riddler, M.D, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, referring to currently approved methods, such as daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and injections of cabotegravir given every two months.

“Finding the insert was safe and delivered high concentrations of drug within the rectum – at the site of potential infection – with low systemic exposure, supports its continued evaluation as an alternative method of HIV prevention,” added Riddler, who led the study.

The study enrolled 23 HIV-negative participants at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Alabama at Birmingham and gave them a single dose of the insert in the clinic. Researchers then collected samples of blood, rectal fluid, and rectal tissue to assess drug levels at different time points that day and in the three days that followed.

One negative side effect

Only one adverse event, a mild case of redness around the anus (anal erythema), was deemed possibly related to the use of the insert. 

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