Researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing a new method to decrease the likelihood of contracting HIV.
Professor Emmanuel Ho of the School of Pharmacy has developed a gel that contains nanoparticles that can be applied directly to the vaginal tract, where HIV is contracted in women.
“Applying medication directly where infection occurs has many advantages,” said Professor Ho. “By targeting the site of transmission directly, we ensure that less medication is lost in transit, and we minimize the likelihood of systemic and off-target side-effects.”
In women, HIV transmission occurs in the vaginal tract. Existing drugs that slow or stop HIV’s spread are administered orally or by injection. Because they do not target the exact area where the virus enters the body, the drugs must travel through the body to reach the vaginal tract, and often they can have side-effects such as flu-like symptoms, rashes or gastro-intestinal upset.