BIG NEWS from the condom world! An Australian condom manufacturer is about to start producing a LifeStyles brand condom with Viva-Gel. Viva-Gel is a microbicide that is shown to disable viral STDs such as Herpes, HIV, and HPV. Although laboratory results prove that the condom inactivates 99.9% of the viral STDs it comes in contact with, at least one doctor is skeptical.
Dr. Anna-Barbara Moscicki gives us reason to exercise caution. Her research using the antiviral compound as an intravaginal cream for women showed that it caused mild irritation and inflammation after two weeks of daily use.
So what’s a little inflammation? What’s the big deal? Well, inflammation attracts our healing cells, our white blood cells. And if you recall from 5th grade health class, HIV uses white blood cells to disguise itself and replicate. Inflammation also breaks down the already-thin vaginal walls, leaving them susceptible to HPV infection. Essentially, inflammation of the sexual parts is like an open invitation for HIV infection.
But there’s good news! Starpharma, the pharmaceutical company who conducted the clinical trials on the groundbreaking condom reported to Huffpost that they used a fraction of the gel on their condoms that Moscicki did in her clinical trial (1% versus 3%) and subsequently found that irritation and inflammation weren’t problems among their 1,000 clinical participants. And though they tested the safety at a 1% concentration, the amount on the condom is actually .5%. If the results prove positive, you can bet that the Viva-Gel condoms will soon be available all over the world.
Remember, next to abstinence, correct and consistent condom use is the best protection against contracting STDs. However, condoms do not provide great protection against STDs that are transmitted by skin to skin contact (like Herpes and HPV), because they do not cover the entire genital area that may be infected. Know your status, talk to your partners, and use protection for the best combined protection.