Microbicides are substances that are being tested to help prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. Vaginal microbicides are intended as an HIV prevention option for women, especially those who may have trouble negotiating condom use with their sexual partners. Rectal microbicides, which could be used by both men and women to reduce the risk of HIV infection during anal sex, are also being developed.
The most widely studied microbicides have been formulated as gels that are used either daily or before and after sex. However, other microbicide products, such as vaginal rings, can release an active drug over time. Most of the microbicides under study employ antiretroviral drugs that are commonly used in pill form to treat an HIV infection.
Antiretroviral pill formulations can also be used for HIV prevention in an approach called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a combination of the antiretroviral drugs tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine (TDF/FTC, or Truvada) for daily use as PrEP to reduce the risk of HIV infection in uninfected men and women who are at high risk of HIV infection. In September 2015, the World Health Organization issued a recommendation that PrEP be offered as an option to all people at substantial risk of HIV infection, defined as people living in contexts or communities with an HIV incidence of 3 percent.
This toolkit provides information about microbicides for health policymakers, program managers, community educators, trainers, advocates, and communication specialists. Although microbicides are not yet available, the toolkit can help the reader develop implementation strategies once they come to the marketplace. This toolkit will be updated as the field progresses.
- Knowledge of recent research results
- Up-to-date policies and guidelines
- Effective communication and marketing
- Quality training, supervision, and services
- Proper logistics
The thematic navigation tabs (listed above) provide the basic information, tools, and resources you will need to understand and introduce microbicides once they become available.