SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2018

Researchers suggest treated douches, enemas may prevent HIV infections

Scientists recommend douches or enemas to prevent HIV infections
Scientists recommend douches or enemas to prevent HIV infections | Courtesy of

A team of researchers from the University of California Riverside led a study in Peru that suggests that rectal microbicides administered through douches or enemas may be an effective way to protect people from HIV infections.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) and transwomen (TW) are known to use enemas before they have sexual intercourse. Unfortunately these groups are considered more vulnerable to contracting HIV as well as many other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This is because enemas, including the ones that use tap water, damage the rectum’s thin tissue lining, making them more susceptible to bacteria and viruses.

"A douche-based rectal microbicide that is safe and effective could play an important role by providing another HIV prevention option for these highly vulnerable groups," Brown, an assistant professor in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, who led the research project, said. "In view of the expanding global HIV epidemics in MSM and TW, there is an urgent and immediate need for novel HIV prevention options, such as the douche-based rectal microbicides we propose, that can be readily incorporated into existing sexual practices."

Ongoing research will confirm whether these studies have implications for wider audiences.

"While we conducted the study among MSM and TW in Peru, our findings may extend to these groups locally and globally," Brown, a member of the Center for Healthy Communities at UCR, said. "Unfortunately, little is known about rectal douching practices among these groups and the damage such practices may cause."

Further details are available in AIDS and Behavior.

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University of California, Riverside

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