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1.  Rectal Application of a Highly Osmolar Personal Lubricant in a Macaque Model Induces Acute Cytotoxicity but Does Not Increase Risk of SHIV Infection 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0120021.
Background
Personal lubricant use is common during anal intercourse. Some water-based products with high osmolality and low pH can damage genital and rectal tissues, and the polymer polyquaternium 15 (PQ15) can enhance HIV replication in vitro. This has raised concerns that lubricants with such properties may increase STD/HIV infection risk, although in vivo evidence is scarce. We use a macaque model to evaluate rectal cytotoxicity and SHIV infection risk after use of a highly osmolar (>8,000 mOsm/kg) water-based lubricant with pH of 4.4, and containing PQ15.
Methods
Cytotoxicity was documented by measuring inflammatory cytokines and epithelial tissue sloughing during six weeks of repeated, non-traumatic lubricant or control buffer applications to rectum and anus. We measured susceptibility to SHIVSF162P3 infection by comparing virus doses needed for rectal infection in twenty-one macaques treated with lubricant or control buffer 30 minutes prior to virus exposure.
Results
Lubricant increased pro-inflammatory cytokines and tissue sloughing while control buffer (phosphate buffered saline; PBS) did not. However, the estimated AID50 (50% animal infectious dose) was not different in lubricant- and control buffer-treated macaques (p = 0.4467; logistic regression models).
Conclusions
Although the test lubricant caused acute cytotoxicity in rectal tissues, it did not increase susceptibility to infection in this macaque model. Thus neither the lubricant-induced type/extent of inflammation nor the presence of PQ15 affected infection risk. This study constitutes a first step in the in vivo evaluation of lubricants with regards to HIV transmission.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120021
PMCID: PMC4390343  PMID: 25853710
2.  Is Wetter Better? An Evaluation of Over-the-Counter Personal Lubricants for Safety and Anti-HIV-1 Activity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48328.
Because lubricants may decrease trauma during coitus, it is hypothesized that they could aid in the prevention of HIV acquisition. Therefore, safety and anti-HIV-1 activity of over-the-counter (OTC) aqueous- (n = 10), lipid- (n = 2), and silicone-based (n = 2) products were tested. The rheological properties of the lipid-based lubricants precluded testing with the exception of explant safety testing. Six aqueous-based gels were hyperosmolar, two were nearly iso-osmolar, and two were hypo-osmolar. Evaluation of the panel of products showed Gynol II (a spermicidal gel containing 2% nonoxynol-9), KY Jelly, and Replens were toxic to Lactobacillus. Two nearly iso-osmolar aqueous- and both silicone-based gels were not toxic toward epithelial cell lines or ectocervical or colorectal explant tissues. Hyperosmolar lubricants demonstrated reduction of tissue viability and epithelial fracture/sloughing while the nearly iso-osmolar and silicon-based lubricants showed no significant changes in tissue viability or epithelial modifications. While most of the lubricants had no measurable anti-HIV-1 activity, three lubricants which retained cell viability did demonstrate modest anti-HIV-1 activity in vitro. To determine if this would result in protection of mucosal tissue or conversely determine if the epithelial damage associated with the hyperosmolar lubricants increased HIV-1 infection ex vivo, ectocervical tissue was exposed to selected lubricants and then challenged with HIV-1. None of the lubricants that had a moderate to high therapeutic index protected the mucosal tissue. These results show hyperosmolar lubricant gels were associated with cellular toxicity and epithelial damage while showing no anti-viral activity. The two iso-osmolar lubricants, Good Clean Love and PRÉ, and both silicone-based lubricants, Female Condom 2 lubricant and Wet Platinum, were the safest in our testing algorithm.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048328
PMCID: PMC3492332  PMID: 23144863
3.  Acceptability and Use of Sexual Barrier Products and Lubricants among HIV-Seropositive Zambian Men 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2008;22(12):1015-1020.
Abstract
This study assessed the acceptability and preference for sexual barrier and lubricant products among men in Zambia following trial and long-term use. It also examined the role of men's preferences as facilitators or impediments to product use for HIV transmission reduction within the Zambian context. HIV-seropositive and - serodiscordant couples were recruited from HIV voluntary counseling and testing centers in Lusaka between 2003 and 2006; 66% of those approached agreed to participate. HIV seropositive male participants participated in a product exposure group intervention (n = 155). Participants were provided with male and female condoms and vaginal lubricants (Astroglide® [BioFilm, Inc., Vista, CA] & KY® gels [Johnson & Johnson, Langhorne, PA], Lubrin® suppositories [Kendwood Therapuetics, Fairfield, NJ]) over three sessions; assessments were conducted at baseline, monthly over 6 months and at 12 months. At baseline, the majority of men reported no previous exposure to lubricant products or female condoms and high (79%) levels of consistent male condom use in the last 7 days. Female condom use increased during the intervention, and male condom use increased at 6 months and was maintained over 12 months. The basis for decisions regarding lubricant use following product exposure was most influenced by a preference for communicating with partners; participant preference for lubricant products was distributed between all three products. Results illustrate the importance of development of a variety of products for prevention of HIV transmission and of inclusion of male partners in interventions to increase sexual barrier product use to facilitate barrier acceptability and use in Zambia.
doi:10.1089/apc.2007.0212
PMCID: PMC2929379  PMID: 19072108
4.  Characterization of Commercially Available Vaginal Lubricants: A Safety Perspective 
Pharmaceutics  2014;6(3):530-542.
Vaginal lubricants are widely used by women to help solve intercourse difficulties or as enhancers, but recent reports raise questions about their safety. Twelve commercially available gel products were tested for pH value, pH buffering capacity, osmolality and cytotoxicity relevant to vaginal delivery. Obtained data were analyzed in light of the recent Advisory Note by the World Health Organization (WHO) for personal lubricants to be concomitantly used with condoms. Results showed that most products do not comply with pH and osmolality recommended standards, thus posing a potential hazard. Four products presented values of osmolality around three-times higher than the maximum acceptable limit of 1200 mOsm/kg. In vitro cell testing further identified substantial cytotoxicity even at 1:100 dilutions for three products, contrasting with no significant effect of up to at least a 1:5 dilution of a Universal Placebo gel. However, no direct correlation between these last results and pH or osmolality was found, thus suggesting that the individual toxicity of specific formulation components plays an important role in the outcome of a particular product. Although further assessment is required, these results highlight potential safety issues related to the formulation of commercially available vaginal lubricants.
doi:10.3390/pharmaceutics6030530
PMCID: PMC4190534  PMID: 25247884
vaginal drug delivery; microbicides; buffer capacity; osmolality; cytotoxicity
5.  Efficacy of Carraguard®-Based Microbicides In Vivo Despite Variable In Vitro Activity 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(9):e3162.
Anti-HIV microbicides are being investigated in clinical trials and understanding how promising strategies work, coincident with demonstrating efficacy in vivo, is central to advancing new generation microbicides. We evaluated Carraguard® and a new generation Carraguard-based formulation containing the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 (PC-817). Since dendritic cells (DCs) are believed to be important in HIV transmission, the formulations were tested for the ability to limit DC-driven infection in vitro versus vaginal infection of macaques with RT-SHIV (SIVmac239 bearing HIV reverse transcriptase). Carraguard showed limited activity against cell-free and mature DC-driven RT-SHIV infections and, surprisingly, low doses of Carraguard enhanced infection. However, nanomolar amounts of MIV-150 overcame enhancement and blocked DC-transmitted infection. In contrast, Carraguard impeded infection of immature DCs coincident with DC maturation. Despite this variable activity in vitro, Carraguard and PC-817 prevented vaginal transmission of RT-SHIV when applied 30 min prior to challenge. PC-817 appeared no more effective than Carraguard in vivo, due to the limited activity of a single dose of MIV-150 and the dominant barrier effect of Carraguard. However, 3 doses of MIV-150 in placebo gel at and around challenge limited vaginal infection, demonstrating the potential activity of a topically applied NNRTI. These data demonstrate discordant observations when comparing in vitro and in vivo efficacy of Carraguard-based microbicides, highlighting the difficulties in testing putative anti-viral strategies in vitro to predict in vivo activity. This work also underscores the potential of Carraguard-based formulations for the delivery of anti-viral drugs to prevent vaginal HIV infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003162
PMCID: PMC2525816  PMID: 18776937
6.  Condoms and condiments: compatibility and safety of personal lubricants and their use in Africa 
Previous research on the use of personal lubricants for sexual intercourse is limited and has primarily focused on condom compatibility and breakage, with only recent limited assessment of lubricant safety and possible epidemiologic implications. This article discusses the global evidence of lubricant compatibility with latex condoms and biological safety of lubricants, as well as documentation of lubricant use and current guidelines for HIV prevention programming in Africa. Data on lubricant compatibility with condoms are less available than commonly realized, and many lubricant products may not have been thoroughly tested for safety due to flexible regulatory environments. Recent laboratory and study findings from microbicides research also suggest that some water-based lubricants may have safety issues. Some African populations are using several types of lubricants, especially oil-based petroleum jellies, and receive little evidence-based guidance. More research is needed from the medical community to guide prevention programming.
doi:10.7448/IAS.16.1.18531
PMCID: PMC3708353  PMID: 23841994
lubricants; condoms; HIV prevention; Africa
7.  Associations of sexually transmitted infections with condom problems among young men who have sex with men 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2014;41(7):427-432.
Background
Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) are disproportionately infected with STIs. Condom use is the most widely available means of preventing the transmission of STIs, but effectiveness depends on correct use. Condom errors, such as using an oil-based lubricant, have been associated with condom failures, such as breakage. Little research has been done on the impact of condom problems on the likelihood of contracting an STI.
Methods
Data came from Crew 450, a longitudinal study of HIV risk among YMSM (N = 450). All self-report data were collected using computer-assisted self-interview (CASI) technology and clinical testing was done for gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and HIV.
Results
Nearly all participants made at least one error, with high rates of using oil based lubricant and incomplete use. No differences were found in rates of condom problems during anal sex with a man versus vaginal sex with a woman. Black YMSM reported significantly higher use of oil based lubricants than White and Hispanic YMSM, an error significantly associated with HIV status (AOR = 2.60; 95% CI: 1.04 – 6.51). Participants who reported a condom failure were significantly more likely to have a STI (AOR=3.27; 95% CI: 1.31 – 8.12).
Conclusions
YMSM report high rates of condom problems, and condom failures were significantly associated with STIs after controlling for unprotected sex. Educational programs are needed to enhance correct condom use among YMSM. Further research is needed on the role of oil based lubricants in explaining racial disparities in STIs and HIV.
doi:10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000150
PMCID: PMC4261919  PMID: 24922101
Homosexuality; Male; Condoms; HIV; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Adolescent
8.  Effect of Vaginal Lubricants on Natural Fertility 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2012;120(1):44-51.
Objective
Over-the-counter vaginal lubricants have been shown to negatively affect in vitro sperm motility. The objective of this study was to estimate the effect of vaginal lubricant use during procreative intercourse on natural fertility.
Methods
Women aged 30–44 years with no history of infertility who had been trying to conceive for less than 3 months completed a baseline questionnaire on vaginal lubricant use. Subsequently, women kept a diary to record menstrual bleeding, intercourse, and vaginal lubricant use and conducted standardized pregnancy testing for up to 6 months. Diary data were used to determine the fertile window and delineate lubricant use during the fertile window. A proportional hazards model was used to estimate fecundability ratios with any lubricant use in the fertile window considered as a time-varying exposure.
Results
Of the 296 participants, 75 (25%) stated in their baseline questionnaire that they use vaginal lubricants while attempting to conceive. Based on daily diary data, 57% of women never used a lubricant, 29% occasionally used a lubricant, and 14% used a lubricant frequently. Women who used lubricants during the fertile window had similar fecundability to those women who did not use lubricants (fecundability ratio 1.05, 95% CI: 0.59, 1.85) after adjusting for age, partner race, and intercourse frequency in the fertile window.
Conclusion
Lubricants are commonly used by couples during procreative intercourse. Lubricant use during procreative intercourse does not appear to reduce the probability of conceiving.
doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e31825b87ae
PMCID: PMC3427535  PMID: 22914390
9.  Increasing safer sexual behavior among Lao kathoy through an integrated social marketing approach 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:872.
Background
Although HIV prevalence has remained low in Laos thus far, there is reason to be concerned that Lao male-to-female (MtF) transgender persons (kathoy) and their partners may facilitate the spread of HIV. Little is known about how to most effectively reach kathoy with HIV prevention programming. This paper evaluates an intervention with Lao kathoy with the objective of increasing safe sex with regular and casual partners.
Methods
Quantitative surveys were administered in November 2004 (n = 288) and June 2006 (n = 415) using time location sampling at venues where kathoy were known to congregate. Respondents were aged 15-35 and from three urban centers in Laos. UNIANOVA tests were used to compare baseline and follow-up survey data and to evaluate the impact of PSI's kathoy-specific interventions on items that changed significantly over time.
Results
Exposure to the intervention was associated with higher levels of condom use at last anal sex with casual partners and greater use of water-based lubricant. Exposure was also linked to improved perceptions of product availability for condoms and water-based lubricant. Knowledge about the importance of consistent condom use improved over time as well as the need to use condoms with regular partners. Some HIV knowledge decreased over time and the intention to use condoms with casual partners when water-based lubricant is available also declined.
Conclusions
Study results demonstrate the feasibility of reaching kathoy with an integrated social marketing approach; combining product promotion, peer education, and other types of interpersonal communication. The approach was successful at increasing condom use with casual partners and water-based lubricant use, but the importance of using condoms along with water-based lubricant must be emphasized and modified strategies are required for improving condom use with boyfriends. Future messages should emphasize consistent condom use with all types of partners as well as improve knowledge and correct misconceptions about HIV and AIDS, STIs, condom use, and lubricant use. It is also important that authorities create an enabling environment to support such interventions and help foster behavior change.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-872
PMCID: PMC3257214  PMID: 22087632
10.  Zinc Acetate/Carrageenan Gels Exhibit Potent Activity In Vivo against High-Dose Herpes Simplex Virus 2 Vaginal and Rectal Challenge 
Topical microbicides that block the sexual transmission of HIV and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) are desperately needed to reduce the incidence of HIV infections worldwide. Previously we completed phase 3 testing of the carrageenan-based gel Carraguard. Although the trial did not show that Carraguard is effective in preventing HIV transmission during vaginal sex, it did show that Carraguard is safe when used weekly for up to 2 years. Moreover, Carraguard has in vitro activity against human papillomavirus (HPV) and HSV-2 and favorable physical and rheological properties, which makes it a useful vehicle to deliver antiviral agents such as zinc acetate. To that end, we previously reported that a prototype zinc acetate carrageenan gel protects macaques against vaginal challenge with combined simian-human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT). Herein, we report the safety and efficacy of a series of zinc acetate and/or carrageenan gels. The gels protected mice (75 to 85% survival; P < 0.001) against high-dose (106-PFU) HSV-2 vaginal or rectal challenge. In contrast, zinc acetate formulated in HEC (hydroxyethylcellulose; or the Universal Placebo) failed to protect mice against the high-dose vaginal HSV-2 challenge (similar to aqueous zinc acetate solution and the placebo controls). The gels were found to be effective spreading gels, exhibited limited toxicity in vitro, caused minimal damage to the architecture of the cervicovaginal and rectal mucosae in vivo, and induced no increased susceptibility to HSV-2 infection in a mouse model. Our results provide a strong rationale to further optimize and evaluate the zinc acetate/carrageenan gels for their ability to block the sexual transmission of HIV and HSV-2.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05461-11
PMCID: PMC3256046  PMID: 22064530
11.  Preventing Friction Induced Chondrocyte Apoptosis: A Comparison of Human Synovial Fluid and Hylan G-F 20 
The Journal of rheumatology  2012;39(7):1473-1480.
Objectives
Symptomatic osteoarthritis (OA) is a common painful disease with limited treatment options. A rising number of OA patients have been treated with intraarticular injections of hyaluronic acid, including the high molecular weight hylan G-F 20, which is injected following arthrocentesis. This study investigated the effectiveness of hylan G-F 20 to lower coefficient of friction (COF) and prevent chondrocyte apoptosis in vitro.
Methods
A disc-on-disc bovine cartilage bearing was used to measure the static and kinetic COF when lubricated with hylan G-F 20, human synovial fluid (HSF) and phosphate buffered saline (PBS). Following friction testing, we stained paraffin embedded sections of these cartilage bearings for activated caspase-3, a marker of apoptosis.
Results
Bearings lubricated with hylan G-F 20 had kinetic COF values that were similar to bearings lubricated with PBS, but significantly higher than those lubricated with HSF. There were no significant differences in static COF values in bearings lubricated with hylan G-F 20 as compared to PBS or HSF. However, bearings lubricated with HSF had a significantly lower static COF values compared to bearings lubricated with PBS. The mean percentage of caspase-3 positive chondrocytes in the superficial and upper intermediate zones of bearings lubricated with hylan G-F 20 were significantly higher when compared to bearings lubricated with HSF or unloaded controls, but significantly lower than those lubricated with PBS.
Conclusion
These findings indicate that joint lubrication may prevent chondrocyte apoptosis by lowering the COF. Furthermore, removal of synovial fluid prior to hylan G-F 20 injection may be detrimental to cartilage health.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.111427
PMCID: PMC3605976  PMID: 22660808
articular cartilage; chondrocyte; apoptosis; synovial fluid; hylan
12.  Synovial Fluid Lubricant Properties are Transiently Deficient after Arthroscopic Articular Cartilage Defect Repair with Platelet-Enriched Fibrin Alone and with Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
Orthopaedic journal of sports medicine  2014;2(7):10.1177/2325967114542580.
Background
Following various types of naturally-occurring traumatic injury to an articular joint, the lubricating ability of synovial fluid is impaired, with a correlated alteration in the concentration and/or structure of lubricant molecules, hyaluronan and proteoglycan-4. However, the effect of arthroscopic cartilage repair surgery on synovial fluid lubricant function and composition is unknown.
Hypothesis
Arthroscopic treatment of full-thickness chondral defects in horses with (1) platelet-enriched fibrin or (2) platelet-enriched fibrin+mesenchymal stem cells leads to equine synovial fluid with impaired lubricant function and hyaluronan and proteoglycan-4 composition.
Study Design
Controlled Laboratory Study.
Methods
Equine synovial fluid was aspirated from normal joints at a pre-injury state (0 days) and at 10 days and 3 months following fibrin or fibrin+mesenchymal stem cell repair of full thickness chondral defects. Equine synovial fluid samples were analyzed for friction-lowering boundary lubrication of normal articular cartilage (static and kinetic friction coefficients) and concentrations of hyaluronan and proteoglycan-4, as well as molecular weight distribution of hyaluronan. Experimental groups deficient in lubrication function were also tested for the ability of exogenous high-molecular weight hyaluronan to restore lubrication function.
Results
Lubrication and biochemical data varied with time after surgery but generally not between repair groups. Relative to pre-injury, kinetic friction was higher (+94%) at 10 days but returned to baseline levels at 3 months while static friction was not altered. Correspondingly, hyaluronan concentration was transiently lower (-64%) and shifted towards lower molecular weight forms, while proteoglycan-4 concentration was increased (+210%) in 10-day samples relative to pre-injury levels. Regression analysis revealed that kinetic friction decreased with increasing total and high molecular weight hyaluronan. Addition of high molecular weight hyaluronan to bring 10-day hyaluronan levels to 2.0mg/ml restored kinetic friction to pre-injury levels.
Conclusion
Following arthroscopic surgery for cartilage defect repair, synovial fluid lubrication function is transiently impaired, in association with decreased hyaluronan concentration. This functional deficiency in synovial fluid lubrication can be counteracted in vitro by addition of high molecular weight hyaluronan.
Clinical Relevance
Synovial fluid lubrication is deficient shortly following arthroscopic cartilage repair surgery, and supplementation with high molecular weight hyaluronan may be beneficial.
doi:10.1177/2325967114542580
PMCID: PMC4267539  PMID: 25530978
13.  The slippery slope: Lubricant Use and Rectal Sexually Transmitted Infections: a newly identified risk 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2012;39(1):59-64.
Background
Use of lubricant products is extremely common during receptive anal intercourse (RAI) yet has not been assessed as a risk for acquisition of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Methods
From 2006–2008 a rectal health and behavior study was conducted in Baltimore and Los Angeles as part of the UCLA Microbicide Development Program (NIAID IPCP# #0606414). Participants completed questionnaires and rectal swabs were tested for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis with the Aptima Combo 2 assay and blood was tested for syphilis (for RPR and TPHA with titer) and HIV. Of those reporting lubricant use and RAI, STI results were available for 380 participants. Univariate and multivariate regressions assessed associations of lubricant use in the past month during RAI with prevalent STIs.
Results
Consistent lubricant use during RAI in the past month was reported by 36% (137/380) of participants. Consistent past month lubricant users had a higher prevalence of STI than inconsistent users (9.5% vs. 2.9%; p=0.006). In a multivariable logistic regression model testing positive for STI was associated with consistent use of lubricant during RAI in the past month (adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 2.98 (95%CI 1.09, 8.15) after controlling for age, gender, study location, HIV status, and numbers of RAI partners in the past month.
Conclusions
Findings suggest some lubricant products may increase vulnerability to STIs. Because of wide use of lubricants and their potential as carrier vehicles for microbicides, further research is essential to clarify if lubricant use poses a public health risk.
doi:10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318235502b
PMCID: PMC3244680  PMID: 22183849
rectal sexually transmitted infections; lubricants; rectal health
14.  The Potential Impact of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention among Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transwomen in Lima, Peru: A Mathematical Modelling Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(10):e1001323.
Gabriela Gomez and colleagues developed a mathematical model of the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men and transwomen in Lima, Peru to explore whether HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis could be a cost-effective addition to existing HIV prevention strategies.
Background
HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of antiretroviral drugs by uninfected individuals to prevent HIV infection, has demonstrated effectiveness in preventing acquisition in a high-risk population of men who have sex with men (MSM). Consequently, there is a need to understand if and how PrEP can be used cost-effectively to prevent HIV infection in such populations.
Methods and Findings
We developed a mathematical model representing the HIV epidemic among MSM and transwomen (male-to-female transgender individuals) in Lima, Peru, as a test case. PrEP effectiveness in the model is assumed to result from the combination of a “conditional efficacy” parameter and an adherence parameter. Annual operating costs from a health provider perspective were based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interim guidelines for PrEP use. The model was used to investigate the population-level impact, cost, and cost-effectiveness of PrEP under a range of implementation scenarios. The epidemiological impact of PrEP is largely driven by programme characteristics. For a modest PrEP coverage of 5%, over 8% of infections could be averted in a programme prioritising those at higher risk and attaining the adherence levels of the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Initiative study. Across all scenarios, the highest estimated cost per disability-adjusted life year averted (uniform strategy for a coverage level of 20%, US$1,036–US$4,254) is below the World Health Organization recommended threshold for cost-effective interventions, while only certain optimistic scenarios (low coverage of 5% and some or high prioritisation) are likely to be cost-effective using the World Bank threshold. The impact of PrEP is reduced if those on PrEP decrease condom use, but only extreme behaviour changes among non-adherers (over 80% reduction in condom use) and a low PrEP conditional efficacy (40%) would adversely impact the epidemic. However, PrEP will not arrest HIV transmission in isolation because of its incomplete effectiveness and dependence on adherence, and because the high cost of programmes limits the coverage levels that could potentially be attained.
Conclusions
A strategic PrEP intervention could be a cost-effective addition to existing HIV prevention strategies for MSM populations. However, despite being cost-effective, a substantial expenditure would be required to generate significant reductions in incidence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Without a vaccine, the only ways to halt the global HIV epidemic are prevention strategies that reduce transmission of the HIV virus. Up until recently, behavioral strategies such as condom use and reduction of sexual partners have been at the center of HIV prevention. In the past few years, several biological prevention measures have also been shown to be effective in reducing (though not completely preventing) HIV transmission. These include male circumcision, treatment for prevention (giving antiretroviral drugs to HIV-infected people, before they need it for their own health, to reduce their infectiousness) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP), in which HIV-negative people use antiretroviral drugs to protect themselves from infection. One PrEP regimen (a daily pill containing two different antiretrovirals) has been shown in a clinical trial to reduce new infections by 44% in of men who have sex with men (MSM). In July 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration approved this PrEP regimen to reduce the risk of HIV infection in uninfected men and women who are at high risk of HIV infection and who may engage in sexual activity with HIV-infected partners. The approval makes it clear that PrEP needs to be used in combination with safe sex practices.
Why Was This Study Done?
Clinical trials have shown that PrEP can reduce HIV infections among participants, but they have not examined the consequences PrEP could have at the population level. Before decision-makers can decide whether to invest in PrEP programs, they need to know about the costs and benefits at the population level. Besides the price of the drug itself, the costs include HIV testing before starting PrEP, as well as regular tests thereafter. The health benefits of reducing new HIV infections are calculated in “disability-adjusted life years” (or DALYs) averted. One DALY is equal to one year of healthy life lost. Other benefits include future savings in lifelong HIV/AIDS treatment for every person whose infection is prevented by PrEP.
This study estimates the potential costs and health benefits of several hypothetical PrEP roll-out scenarios among the community of MSM in Lima, Peru. The scientists chose this community because many of the participants in the clinical trial that showed that PrEP can reduce infections came from this community, and they therefore have some knowledge on how PrEP affects HIV infection rates and behavior in this population. Because the HIV epidemic in Lima is concentrated among MSM, similar to most of Latin America and several other developed countries, the results might also be relevant for the evaluation of PrEP in other places.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
For their scenarios, the researchers looked at “high coverage” and “low coverage” scenarios, in which 20% and 5% of uninfected individuals use PrEP, respectively. They also divided the MSM community into those at lower risk of becoming infected and those at higher risk. The latter group consisted of transwomen at higher risk (transsexuals and transvestites with many sexual partners) and male sex workers. In a “uniform coverage” scenario, PrEP is equally distributed among all MSM. “Prioritized scenarios” cover transwomen at higher risk and sex workers preferentially. Two additional important factors for the estimated benefits are treatment adherence (i.e., whether people take the pills they have been prescribed faithfully over long periods of time even though they are not sick) and changes in risk behavior (i.e., whether the perceived protection provided by PrEP leads to more unprotected sex).
The cost estimates for PrEP included the costs of the drug itself and HIV tests prior to PrEP prescription and at three-month intervals thereafter, as well as outreach and counseling services and condom and lubricant promotion and provision.
To judge whether under the various scenarios PrEP is cost-effective, the researchers applied two commonly used but different cost-effectiveness thresholds. The World Health Organization's WHO-CHOICE initiative considers an intervention cost-effective if its cost is less than three times the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita per DALY averted. For Peru, this means an intervention should cost less than US$16,302 per DALY. The World Bank has more stringent criteria: it considers an intervention cost-effective for a middle-income country like Peru if it costs less than US$500 per DALY averted.
The researchers estimate that PrEP is cost-effective in Lima's MSM population for most scenarios by WHO-CHOICE guidelines. Only scenarios that prioritize PrEP to those most likely to become infected (i.e., transwomen at higher risk and sex workers) are cost-effective (and only barely) by the more stringent World Bank criteria. If the savings on antiretroviral drugs to treat people with HIV (those who would have become infected without PrEP) are included in the calculation, most scenarios become cost-effective, even under World Bank criteria.
The most cost-effective scenario, namely, having a modest coverage of 5%, prioritizing PrEP to transwomen at higher risk and sex workers, and assuming fairly high adherence levels among PrEP recipients, is estimated to avert about 8% of new infections among this community over ten years.
What Do these Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that under some circumstances, PrEP could be a cost-effective tool to reduce new HIV infections. However, as the researchers discuss, PrEP is expensive and only partly effective. Moreover, its effectiveness depends on two behavioral factors—adherence to a strict drug regimen and continued practicing of safe sex—both of which remain hard to predict. As a consequence, PrEP alone is not a valid strategy to prevent new HIV infections. It needs instead to be considered as one of several available tools. If and when PrEP is chosen as part of an integrated prevention strategy will depend on the specific target population, the overall funds available, and how well its cost-effectiveness compares with other prevention measures.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001323.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and a section on PrEP
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including HIV prevention
AVAC Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention provides up-to-date information on HIV prevention, including PrEP
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information on PrEP
The World Health Organization has a page on its WHO-CHOICE criteria for cost-effectiveness
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001323
PMCID: PMC3467261  PMID: 23055836
15.  Carrageenan Is a Potent Inhibitor of Papillomavirus Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2006;2(7):e69.
Certain sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) types are causally associated with the development of cervical cancer. Our recent development of high-titer HPV pseudoviruses has made it possible to perform high-throughput in vitro screens to identify HPV infection inhibitors. Comparison of a variety of compounds revealed that carrageenan, a type of sulfated polysaccharide extracted from red algae, is an extremely potent infection inhibitor for a broad range of sexually transmitted HPVs. Although carrageenan can inhibit herpes simplex viruses and some strains of HIV in vitro, genital HPVs are about a thousand-fold more susceptible, with 50% inhibitory doses in the low ng/ml range. Carrageenan acts primarily by preventing the binding of HPV virions to cells. This finding is consistent with the fact that carrageenan resembles heparan sulfate, an HPV cell-attachment factor. However, carrageenan is three orders of magnitude more potent than heparin, a form of cell-free heparan sulfate that has been regarded as a highly effective model HPV inhibitor. Carrageenan can also block HPV infection through a second, postattachment heparan sulfate–independent effect. Carrageenan is in widespread commercial use as a thickener in a variety of cosmetic and food products, ranging from sexual lubricants to infant feeding formulas. Some of these products block HPV infectivity in vitro, even when diluted a million-fold. Clinical trials are needed to determine whether carrageenan-based products are effective as topical microbicides against genital HPVs.
Synopsis
Sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are very common. Although most HPV infections don't cause noticeable symptoms, persistent infection with some genital HPV types can lead to cervical cancer or other anal/genital cancers. Another subset of HPV types can cause genital warts. Recent studies have suggested that condoms are not highly effective in preventing HPV infection. Although HPV vaccines will soon become available, they probably will not protect against all genital HPV types and will be too expensive for use in the developing world. Inexpensive HPV-inhibitory compounds (known as topical microbicides) might be useful for blocking the spread of HPV. Using a newly developed cell culture–based HPV inhibition test, we have discovered that an inexpensive gelling agent called carrageenan is an unexpectedly potent HPV infection inhibitor. Carrageenan is also under investigation as a topical microbicide targeting HIV and herpes viruses, but it is a thousand times more effective against HPV in cell culture tests. Interestingly, carrageenan is used as a thickener in some commercially available sexual lubricants and lubricated condoms. Several of these commercial lubricant products are potent HPV inhibitors in our cell culture–infection system. Clinical trials are needed to determine the effectiveness of carrageenan as a topical microbicide against HPV.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0020069
PMCID: PMC1500806  PMID: 16839203
16.  The consequences of yield stress on deployment of a non-Newtonian anti-HIV microbicide gel 
Journal of non-Newtonian fluid mechanics  2011;166(19-20):1116-1122.
A recent study in South Africa has confirmed, for the first time, that a vaginal gel formulation of the antiretroviral drug Tenofovir, when applied topically, significantly inhibits sexual HIV transmission to women [10]. However the gel for this drug, and anti-HIV microbicide gels in general, have not been designed using full understanding of how gel spreading and retention in the vagina govern successful drug delivery. Elastohydrodynamic lubrication theory can be applied to model such spreading of microbicide gels, which are inherently non-Newtonian [13,15]. A yield stress is emerging as one of the important properties of microbicide gel vehicle deployment, as this may improve retention within the vaginal canal. On the other hand, a yield stress may decrease the initial extent of the coating flow. Here, we first explain a certain yield stress paradox observed generally in many lubrication flows. Four conditions are determined, via scaling analysis, which mitigate the inconsistency in the use of lubrication theory to analyze the specific problem of elastic wall squeezing flow of yield stress fluid. Parameters characterizing these conditions are obtained experimentally for a test gel. Using them, it is shown that the lubrication approximation may be applied to the elastic wall-squeezing problem for this gel.
doi:10.1016/j.jnnfm.2011.06.007
PMCID: PMC3342340  PMID: 22563138
Yield stress; Carreau fluid; Lubrication flow; Anti-HIV microbicide; Squeezing flow; Biviscosity model
17.  Molecular Epidemiology of HIV-1 Infection among Men who Have Sex with Men in Taiwan in 2012 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0128266.
The number of men who have sex with men (MSM) infected with HIV-1 in Taiwan has increased rapidly in the past few years. The goal of this study was to conduct a molecular epidemiological study of HIV-1 infection among MSM in Taiwan to identify risk factors for intervention. Voluntary counseling program and anonymous testing were provided to patrons at 1 gay bar, 7 night clubs and 3 gay saunas in Taipei and New Taipei Cities in 2012. HIV-1 subtypes were determined using gag subtype-specific PCR and phylogenetic analysis by env sequences. Recent HIV-1 infection was determined using LAg-Avidity EIA. In-depth interviews and questionnaires were used to identify risk factors. The prevalence and incidence of HIV-1 among MSM in Taiwan were 4.38% (53/1,208) and 3.29 per 100 person-years, respectively. Of 49 cases genotyped, 48 (97.9%) were infected with subtype B and 1 with CRF01_AE (2%). Phylogenetic analysis of 46 HIV-1 strains showed that 25 (54.4%) subtype B strains formed 9 clusters with each other or with other local strains. The CRF01_AE case clustered with a reference strain from a Thai blood donor with bootstrap value of 99. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that risk factors associated with HIV-1 infection included use of oil-based solution as lubricant (vs. saliva or water-based lubricants, OR= 4.23; p <0.001); exclusively receptive role (vs. insertive role, OR= 9.69; p <0.001); versatile role (vs. insertive role, OR= 6.45; p= 0.003); oral sex (vs. insertive role, OR= 11.93; p= 0.044); times of sexual contact per week (2-3 vs. zero per week, OR= 3.41; p= 0.021); illegal drug use (OR= 4.12; p <0.001); and history of sexually transmitted diseases (OR= 3.65; p= 0.002). In conclusion, there was no new HIV-1 subtype or circulating recombinant form responsible for the increase of HIV-1 among MSM in Taiwan in 2012. Misuse of oil-based solution as lubricant is a new risk factor identified among MSM in Taiwan. The Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control has created a video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=BinExvvOTMM&feature=iv&src_vid=BW81-PfmY3E&annotation_id=annotation_2436493705) to correct such misconception in its AIDS prevention campaign.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128266
PMCID: PMC4454672  PMID: 26039757
18.  In Vitro Comparison of Topical Microbicides for Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Transmission 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2004;48(10):3834-3844.
A standardized protocol was used to compare cellular toxicities and anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) activities of candidate microbicides formulated for human use. The microbicides evaluated were cellulose acetate phthalate (CAP), Carraguard, K-Y plus nonoxynol-9 (KY-N9), PRO 2000 (0.5 and 4%), SPL7013 (5%), UC781 (0.1 and 1%), and Vena Gel, along with their accompanying placebos. Products were evaluated for toxicity on cervical and colorectal epithelial cell lines, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and macrophages (MΦ) by using an ATP release assay, and they were tested for their effect on transepithelial resistance (TER) of polarized epithelial monolayers. Anti-HIV-1 activity was evaluated in assays for transfer of infectious HIV-1 from epithelial cells to activated PBMCs and for PBMC and MΦ infection. CAP, Carraguard, PRO 2000, SPL7013, and UC781 along with their placebos were 20- to 50-fold less toxic than KY-N9 and Vena Gel. None of the nontoxic product concentrations disrupted the TER. Transfer of HIV-1Ba-L from epithelial cells to PBMCs and PBMC and MΦ infection with laboratory-adapted HIV-1Ba-L and HIV-1LAI isolates were inhibited by all products except Carraguard, KY-N9, and Vena Gel. KY-N9, Vena Gel, and Carraguard were not effective in blocking PBMC infection with primary HIV-1A, HIV-1C, and HIV-1CRF01-AE isolates. The concordance of these toxicity results with those previously reported indicates that our protocol may be useful for predicting toxicity in vivo. Moreover, our systematic anti-HIV-1 testing provides a rational basis for making better informed decisions about which products to consider for clinical trials.
doi:10.1128/AAC.48.10.3834-3844.2004
PMCID: PMC521884  PMID: 15388443
19.  Incident HIV during Pregnancy and Postpartum and Risk of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(2):e1001608.
Alison Drake and colleagues conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy and the postpartum period and to compare mother-to-child HIV transmission risk among women with incident versus chronic infection.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Women may have persistent risk of HIV acquisition during pregnancy and postpartum. Estimating risk of HIV during these periods is important to inform optimal prevention approaches. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy/postpartum and to compare mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) risk among women with incident versus chronic infection.
Methods and Findings
We searched PubMed, Embase, and AIDS-related conference abstracts between January 1, 1980, and October 31, 2013, for articles and abstracts describing HIV acquisition during pregnancy/postpartum. The inclusion criterion was studies with data on recent HIV during pregnancy/postpartum. Random effects models were constructed to pool HIV incidence rates, cumulative HIV incidence, hazard ratios (HRs), or odds ratios (ORs) summarizing the association between pregnancy/postpartum status and HIV incidence, and MTCT risk and rates. Overall, 1,176 studies met the search criteria, of which 78 met the inclusion criterion, and 47 contributed data. Using data from 19 cohorts representing 22,803 total person-years, the pooled HIV incidence rate during pregnancy/postpartum was 3.8/100 person-years (95% CI 3.0–4.6): 4.7/100 person-years during pregnancy and 2.9/100 person-years postpartum (p = 0.18). Pooled cumulative HIV incidence was significantly higher in African than non-African countries (3.6% versus 0.3%, respectively; p<0.001). Risk of HIV was not significantly higher among pregnant (HR 1.3, 95% CI 0.5–2.1) or postpartum women (HR 1.1, 95% CI 0.6–1.6) than among non-pregnant/non-postpartum women in five studies with available data. In African cohorts, MTCT risk was significantly higher among women with incident versus chronic HIV infection in the postpartum period (OR 2.9, 95% CI 2.2–3.9) or in pregnancy/postpartum periods combined (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2–4.4). However, the small number of studies limited power to detect associations and sources of heterogeneity.
Conclusions
Pregnancy and the postpartum period are times of persistent HIV risk, at rates similar to “high risk” cohorts. MTCT risk was elevated among women with incident infections. Detection and prevention of incident HIV in pregnancy/postpartum should be prioritized, and is critical to decrease MTCT.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide, about 3.4 million children younger than 15 years old (mostly living in sub-Saharan Africa) are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS by gradually destroying immune system cells, thereby leaving infected individuals susceptible to other serious infections. In 2012 alone, 230,000 children (more than 700 every day) were newly infected with HIV. Most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. The rate of MTCT (and deaths among HIV-positive pregnant women from complications related to HIV infection) can be greatly reduced by testing women for HIV infection during pregnancy (antenatal HIV testing), treating HIV-positive women with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs, powerful drugs that control HIV replication and allow the immune system to recover) during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding, and giving ARVs to their newborn babies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have developed a global plan that aims to move towards eliminating new HIV infections among children by 2015 and towards keeping their mothers alive. To ensure the plan's success, the incidence of HIV (the number of new infections) among women and the rate of MTCT must be reduced by increasing ARV uptake by mothers and their infants for the prevention of MTCT. However, the risk of HIV infection among pregnant women and among women who have recently given birth (postpartum women) is poorly understood because, although guidelines recommend repeat HIV testing during late pregnancy or at delivery in settings where HIV infection is common, pregnant women are often tested only once for HIV infection. The lack of retesting represents a missed opportunity to identify pregnant and postpartum women who have recently acquired HIV and to prevent MTCT by initiating ARV therapy. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic) and meta-analysis (a study that uses statistical methods to combine the results of several studies), the researchers estimate maternal HIV incidence during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and compare the risk of MTCT among women with incident (new) and chronic (long-standing) HIV infection.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 47 studies (35 undertaken in Africa) that examined recent HIV acquisition by women during pregnancy and the 12-month postpartum period. They used random effects statistical models to estimate the pooled HIV incidence rate and cumulative HIV incidence (the number of new infections per number of people at risk), and the association between pregnancy/postpartum status and HIV incidence and MTCT risk and rates. The pooled HIV incidence rate among pregnant/postpartum women estimated from 19 studies (all from sub-Saharan Africa) that reported HIV incidence rates was 3.8/100 person-years. The pooled cumulative HIV incidence was significantly higher in African countries than in non-African countries (3.6% and 0.3%, respectively; a “significant” difference is one that is unlikely to arise by chance). In the five studies that provided suitable data, the risk of HIV acquisition was similar in pregnant, postpartum, and non-pregnant/non-postpartum women. Finally, among African women, the risk of MTCT was 2.9-fold higher during the postpartum period among those who had recently acquired HIV than among those with chronic HIV infection, and 2.3-fold higher during the pregnancy/postpartum periods combined.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that women living in regions where HIV infection is common are at high risk of acquiring HIV infection during pregnancy and the postpartum period and that mothers who acquire HIV during pregnancy or postpartum are more likely to pass the infection on to their offspring than mothers with chronic HIV infections. However, the small number of studies included in this meta-analysis and the use of heterogeneous research methodologies in these studies may limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings have important implications for the global plan to eliminate HIV infections in children. First, they suggest that women living in regions where HIV infection is common should be offered repeat HIV testing (using sensitive methods to enhance early detection of infection) during pregnancy and in the postpartum period to detect incident HIV infections, and should be promptly referred to HIV care and treatment. Second, they suggest that prevention of HIV transmission during pregnancy and postpartum should be prioritized, for example, by counseling women about the need to use condoms to prevent transmission during this period of their lives.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001608.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children and HIV/AIDS and on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
The 2013 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report provides information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it; the 2013 UNAIDS Progress Report on the Global Plan provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections among children; the UNAIDS Believe it. Do it website provides information about the campaign to support the UNAIDS global plan
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, NAM/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001608
PMCID: PMC3934828  PMID: 24586123
20.  Application and removal of polyanionic microbicide compounds enhances subsequent infection by HIV-1 
Virology Journal  2012;9:33.
Background
Continued efforts are being directed toward the development of microbicides that will be used to reduce or eliminate the risk of HIV-1 sexual transmission. Unfortunately, clinical trials involving polyanion-containing microbicide formulations, including Carraguard (λ-carrageenan [LC]) and Ushercell (cellulose sulfate [CS]) demonstrated that these products were ineffective and may have, in some circumstances, increased the risk of HIV-1 infection. These findings prompted reassessments of the in vitro activities of these agents to determine whether variables that can affect agent safety and efficacy had been overlooked during preclinical testing. One such variable is product retention and loss following topical application.
Results
In the present studies involving an HIV-1-susceptible cell line and primary human immune cells, product loss was mimicked by introducing and then removing polyanionic compounds prior to HIV-1 infection. In these in vitro "washout" experiments, LC and CS significantly enhanced HIV-1 infection, despite potent antiviral activity when introduced simultaneously with the virus. The presence and magnitude of this effect were dependent on compound identity and concentration; target cell; interval between compound removal and virus challenge; and coreceptor usage. Levels of enhancement (relative to controls) were considerable, exceeding a 200% increase (CS) in P4-R5 MAGI cells and a 300% increase (LC) in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
Conclusions
These studies, which demonstrate significant increases in HIV-1 infection subsequent to application and removal of LC and CS, support plausible explanations for the failures of microbicides formulated from these compounds. Detailed studies are now underway to determine the mechanism responsible for this enhancement effect and to assess the potential contribution of this effect to the clinical failures of these agents.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-33
PMCID: PMC3295645  PMID: 22281044
AIDS; HIV-1; Microbicide; Polyanion; Carrageenan; Cellulose sulfate; Enhancement
21.  The effect of pH, dilution, and temperature on the viscosity of ocular lubricants—shift in rheological parameters and potential clinical significance 
Eye  2012;26(12):1579-1584.
Objective
To investigate the effect of temperature, dilution, and pH on the viscosity of ocular lubricants.
Design
Laboratory based investigation of viscosity.
Participants
No human subjects.
Methods
Hypromellose 0.3%, sodium hyaluronate 0.4%, carboxymethylcellulose sodium 0.5%/glycerin 0.9%, and carmellose sodium 0.5% were investigated. Ostwald capillary viscometers were utilised for viscosity measurements. The kinematic viscosity of each lubricant was tested quantitatively from 22 to 40 °C, and over a pH range of 5–8 under isothermal conditions. The kinematic viscosity of each eye drop was also tested under dilution by varying the mass fraction of each eye drop under isothermal conditions.
Main outcome measure
Changes in kinematic viscosity.
Results
Hypromellose 0.3% had an initial pH of 8.34, while the other lubricants had a pH close to neutral. From 22 to 35 °C, the kinematic viscosity of sodium hyaluronate 0.4 fell by 36% from 37.8 to 24.4 mm2/s, carboxymethylcellulose sodium 0.5%/glycerin 0.9% fell by 35% from 16.98 to 11.1 mm2/s, hypromellose fell by 37% from 6.89 to 3.69 mm2/s, and carmellose sodium 0.5% fell by 25% from 2.77 to 1.87 mm2/s. At 32 °C only sodium hyaluronate 0.4%, and carboxymethylcellulose sodium 0.5%/glycerin 0.9% retained sufficient kinematic viscosity to maintain precorneal residence. Kinematic viscosities of all the topical lubricants were unaffected by pH but decreased significantly with dilution.
Conclusions
This study suggests that currently used ocular lubricants have limited bioavailability due to reductions in viscosity by temperature and dilutional changes under physiological conditions. Developing lubricants with stable viscosities may maximise therapeutic efficacy.
doi:10.1038/eye.2012.211
PMCID: PMC3522845  PMID: 23079749
lubricant; viscosity; rheology
22.  Use of Saliva as a Lubricant in Anal Sexual Practices Among Homosexual Men 
Objectives
Compared with other sexually active adults, men who have sex with men (MSM) are more frequently infected with several pathogens including cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B virus, and Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Because one common element between these organisms is their presence in saliva, we evaluated saliva exposure among MSM in a heretofore relatively unrecognized route—via use of saliva as a lubricant in anal sex.
Methods
MSM in a San Francisco population–based cohort were interviewed regarding use of saliva by the insertive partner as a lubricant in various anal sexual practices.
Results
Among 283 MSM, 87% used saliva as a lubricant in insertive or receptive penile–anal intercourse or fingering/fisting at some point during their lifetime; 31%–47% did so, depending upon the act, in the prior 6 months. Saliva use as a lubricant was more common among younger men and among HIV-infected men when with HIV-infected partners. Even among MSM following safe sex guidelines by avoiding unprotected penile–anal intercourse, 26% had anal exposure to saliva via use as a lubricant.
Conclusions
Among MSM, use of saliva as a lubricant is a common, but not ubiquitous, practice in anal sex. The findings provide the rationale for formal investigation of whether saliva use in this way contributes to transmission of saliva-borne pathogens in MSM.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31819388a9
PMCID: PMC3975591  PMID: 19131893
homosexual; saliva; lubricant; anal intercourse
23.  Effects of feminine hygiene products on the vaginal mucosal biome 
Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease  2013;24:10.3402/mehd.v24i0.19703.
Background
Over-the-counter (OTC) feminine hygiene products come with little warning about possible side effects. This study evaluates in-vitro their effects on Lactobacillus crispatus, which is dominant in the normal vaginal microbiota and helps maintain a healthy mucosal barrier essential for normal reproductive function and prevention of sexually transmitted infections and gynecologic cancer.
Methods
A feminine moisturizer (Vagisil), personal lubricant, and douche were purchased OTC. A topical spermicide (nonoxynol-9) known to alter the vaginal immune barrier was used as a control. L. crispatus was incubated with each product for 2 and 24h and then seeded on agar for colony forming units (CFU). Human vaginal epithelial cells were exposed to products in the presence or absence of L. crispatus for 24h, followed by epithelium-associated CFU enumeration. Interleukin-8 was immunoassayed and ANOVA was used for statistical evaluation.
Results
Nonoxynol-9 and Vagisil suppressed Lactobacillus growth at 2h and killed all bacteria at 24h. The lubricant decreased bacterial growth insignificantly at 2h but killed all at 24h. The douche did not have a significant effect. At full strength, all products suppressed epithelial viability and all, except the douche, suppressed epithelial-associated CFU. When applied at non-toxic dose in the absence of bacteria, the douche and moisturizer induced an increase of IL-8, suggesting a potential to initiate inflammatory reaction. In the presence of L. crispatus, the proinflammatory effects of the douche and moisturizer were countered, and IL-8 production was inhibited in the presence of the other products.
Conclusion
Some OTC vaginal products may be harmful to L. crispatus and alter the vaginal immune environment. Illustrated through these results, L. crispatus is essential in the preservation of the function of vaginal epithelial cells in the presence of some feminine hygiene products. More research should be invested toward these products before they are placed on the market.
doi:10.3402/mehd.v24i0.19703
PMCID: PMC3758931  PMID: 24009546
Lactobacillus; L. crispatus; cytokines; Interleukin-8; Nonoxynol-9; vaginal microbiota; vaginal epithelial colonization; mucosal immunity
24.  HIV Prevention Services and Testing Utilization Behaviors among Men Who Have Sex with Men at Elevated Risk for HIV in Chongqing, China 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:174870.
Objective. To investigate barriers and correlates of the use of HIV prevention services and HIV testing behaviors among men who have sex with men in Chongqing. Methods. Three consecutive cross-sectional surveys provided demographic, sexual behavior, HIV/syphilis infection, HIV prevention service, and testing behavior data. Results. Of 1239 participants, 15.4% were infected with HIV, incidence was 12.3 per 100 persons/year (95% CI: 9.2–15.3), 38% of the participants reported ever having unprotected insertive anal sex, 40% ever received free condom/lubricants in the past year, and 27.7% ever obtained free sexually transmitted infection examination/treatment in the past year. Multivariable logistic regression revealed that lower levels of HIV/AIDS related stigmatizing/discriminatory attitudes, full-time jobs, and sex debut with men at a younger age were independently associated with use of free condom/lubricants. Large social networks, higher incomes, and sexual debut with men at a younger age were associated with use of any HIV prevention and HIV testing services. Lower levels of stigmatizing/discriminatory attitudes were also associated with HIV testing. Fearing needles and being unaware of the venues for testing were top barriers for testing service utilization. Conclusion. It is imperative to address HIV/AIDS related stigmatizing/discriminatory attitudes and other barriers while delivering intervention and testing services.
doi:10.1155/2014/174870
PMCID: PMC3982458  PMID: 24783195
25.  A Case Study in Pharmacologic Colon Imaging Using Principal Curves in Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography 
In this manuscript we are concerned with functional imaging of the colon to assess the kinetics of microbicide lubricants. The overarching goal is to understand the distribution of the lubricants in the colon. Such information is crucial for understanding the potential impact of the microbicide on HIV viral transmission. The experiment was conducted by imaging a radiolabeled lubricant distributed in the subject's colon. The tracer imaging was conducted via single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), a non-invasive, in-vivo functional imaging technique. We develop a novel principal curve algorithm to construct a three dimensional curve through the colon images. The developed algorithm is tested and debugged on several difficult two-dimensional images of familiar curves where the original principal curve algorithm does not apply. The final curve fit to the colon data is compared with experimental sigmoidoscope collection.
doi:10.1198/016214508000000832
PMCID: PMC2794148  PMID: 20016767

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