Daily HIV/AIDS Report

Science & Medicine | Nonoxynol-9 Shown to Increase Risk of HIV During Anal Sex
[Jan 16, 2001]

     Nonoxynol-9, a "sperm-killing" agent found in some condoms and lubricants, may increase the risk of HIV transmission during anal sex, researchers report this month in the journal Contraception. Reuters Health reports that the study showed that nonoxynol-9, which in previous studies has increased the risk of HIV transmission during vaginal intercourse, causes the "protective" epithelial cells lining of the rectum to "peel off" or shed during intercourse, "render[ing] a person more at risk for infection by HIV and other sexually transmitted pathogens," according to Dr. David Phillips of the Population Council. A previous study also showed the chemical to cause shedding of the cells in mice, increasing the likelihood of transmission of herpes simplex virus-2, another STD. Researchers asked four volunteers to apply one of two over-the-counter lubricants containing nonoxynol-9 -- K-Y Plus and ForPlay -- and two compounds that did not contain the chemical. Specimens collected 15 minutes after application and analyzed with a microscope showed "tell-tale signs" that cells had been shed. The researchers recommended that lubricants with nonoxynol-9 should not be used when engaging in anal sex (Reuters Health, 1/16).