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Substance May Help Prevent AIDS, STDs

Researchers from the Laboratory of Biochemical Virology at the New York Blood Center said that an ingredient commonly used in pill coatings, cellulose acetate phthalate, maybe someday help decrease transmission of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, including herpes, gonorrhea, trichomonas, and chlamydia.

Cellulose acetate phthalate is used to coat enteric tablets. The special coating prevents the tablets from disintegrating in the stomach and allows them to reach the small intestine, where they do dissolve and take effect.

Researchers from the Laboratory of Biochemical Virology at the New York Blood Center tested cellulose acetate phthalate’s effects on mice and found that the substance killed HIV and other STD-causing viruses and bacteria.

Dr. Robert Neurath, director of the Center, stated that condoms are not sufficient to protect women from STDs and noted that a new microbicide is desperately needed. Many healthcare and women’s groups are supportive of this because they claim that many men refuse to wear condoms, making is easier for women to be infected with an STD. A new microbicide would allow women to protect themselves from unwanted diseases regardless of whether or not their partners are willing to use a condom.

Sources:

Reuters - July 19, 1999

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