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Q: Antiviral Gels- Do they work? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Antiviral Gels- Do they work?
Category: Health > Alternative
Asked by: elenafox-ga
List Price: $12.00
Posted: 08 Aug 2005 14:57 PDT
Expires: 07 Sep 2005 14:57 PDT
Question ID: 553232
I have recently seen websites promoting prophylactic antiviral gels to
be applied topically as an invisible barrier to prevent STD
transmissions such as HPV or other viruses that can transfer through
skin-to-skin contact.

The websites in question are and 

I would like to know whether these gels are an effective way of
protecting yourself against invisible viruses that can transfer
through skin cells? Note: I am not asking if they will cure anything-
only if they can help prevent transmission.
Subject: Re: Antiviral Gels- Do they work?
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 08 Aug 2005 18:21 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Elenafox,

   While carageenan has proved to be effective against transmission of
STDs such as HIV and herpes, it?s doubtful  the product sold on the
sites you posted are the same formula as the kind still going through
clinical trials. I have included more information on the kind being
tested in Africa, later on in this article. While the products you ask
about seem harmless, both sites recommend still using a condom.  Most
researchers believe that viral shedding still occurs when no herpes
sores are visible, so a person with herpes should be considered as
contagious at all times. Why take the risk with this unproven gel?

I have looked over these sites quite a bit. (I assume you meant   and not which seems not
to exist). There are several red flags, which I will discuss further
along in the answer.

While these gels MAY work to a degree, and that?s a big MAY, I can?t
put much faith in these sites. The gels seem harmless enough, but I
doubt seriously if these products are worth your money. One site is
trying to pass off the fact that the Gates Foundation has donated
money to microbicide research to somehow validate their own product.

First, the site   is working hard to promote
others opening a website to sell their product. This is a red flag.
Second, the site is peppered with misspellings and grammatical errors.
(We all make typos, but reliable sites make an extra effort to have
their text in good form.) Bacteria such as Gardnerella and Papilloma
are not spelled correctly on the first page. Reliable sites also post
their studies. Not only are the studies not posted, I am unable to
find them.

Freedomantiviral has already run into trouble with the FDA:

This disclaimer on the bottom of the page ?As Fix-it is a herbal
product that is not regulated by the FDA we are required to say that
these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug
Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose or cure
any disease. The information contained herein is for educational
purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to replace
the advice or attention of health care professionals.? Seems they are
misrepresenting the actual research. On the other hand, in countries
where little education or treatment is available against STDS, SOME
protections is better than none. Decreasing the chance  of disease is
the best it gets in some parts of Africa.

?In sub-Saharan African countries, condom use falls as low as 7
percent. Nearly half of gay American men in their 20s report that they
recently had unprotected anal sex. "I don't think it's hard to ask
someone to wear a condom, but guys hate them," says Dyanne Stempel, a
single white female living in Los Angeles. "They don't say anything
and then they either can't perform or they get uncomfortable."

?Rosenberg and her colleagues believe that a microbicide will have
demonstrated efficacy if, over three years, there are at least 30
percent fewer infections among users than in the control group. That
may sound far from ideal. But researchers at the London School of
Hygiene and Topical Medicine estimate that a microbicide with 60
percent effectiveness could avert 2.5 million new HIV infections over
three years worldwide. On top of the obvious human benefits, that
translates into a $2.7 billion savings in health-care costs (not
including HIV meds) and $1 billion in productivity for developing

I also feel the term ?Invisible Condom? is misleading, as some people
would think they could forgo a condom.

Mention is made of the Bill and Melinda Gates  donating money to fund
research on microbicides in Africa. This is true, but I see no mention
of this research being associated with the gels from the sites you
mention. Rather they are researching anti-microbials that HELP prevent
transmission from mother to unborn child.

Carraguard, the product whose testing is being funded by the Gates
Foundation is made from the kappa and lambda form of Carrageenan.
While some form of carageenan is included in Fix-it, it does not say
if it is the kappa and lambda form. However, testing is continuing
still on Carraguard, so it is not the same product. It appears to be a
sort of ?knock off? product, without scientific merit.

?Interim data from the Council's expanded safety and acceptability
trials also show Carraguard to be safe and acceptable when used for up
to 12 months. A large-scale trial in three South African cities will
test the efficacy and safety of Carraguard. If efficacy is
demonstrated, a New Drug Application will be filed with the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration and regulatory authorities in the countries
where the product will be available.?

Phase III trials are ongoing.

Note that the women in the study were told to use a condom with the gel.
?Participants at all three sites were randomized to groups using
Carraguard gel or its matching placebo, methyl cellulose gel, and
neither participants nor staff knew which product they were receiving.
Participants were instructed to insert the study gel at least three
times a week (approximately every other day) and before each act of
vaginal intercourse. Additionally, the women were instructed to use a
condom during sex. Women returned to the clinic for monthly pelvic
exams, interviews about compliance and acceptability, safer sex
counseling, testing and treatment of curable reproductive tract
infections (RTIs) and free condoms. Data collection has been
completed, and preliminary analysis supports Phase 1 findings that
Carraguard does not cause significant irritation of the female
reproductive tract and that the gel is generally acceptable for use.?

?Carraguard ostensibly works because carrageenan has a negative charge
density, which means it boasts a lot of sulfate groups, distributed
along the outside of the molecule, says Maguire. This arrangement
?causes [the compound] to bind either to virus particles or cells that
are infected with HIV, thereby coating it so the virus itself or the
cells containing HIV cannot adhere to cells that line the vaginal
canal. If you can?t get adhesion, you can?t get infection.? She adds:
?We also know that it is very compatible with the mucous cells in the
vaginal environment, and that it can even coat the [mucous] cells
themselves. So, if an uncoated virus particle or a cell containing HIV
is introduced during intercourse, it can?t go up and adhere to the
vaginal cells.?

Note too that each site still recommends using a condom. That is the
best advice I read on either site!

I hope this has helped you form an educated opinion of these gels.

Please request an Answer Clarification, before you rate this answer,
if anything is unclear. This will allow me to assist you further, if

Regards, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Gel + herpes + HIV
Gates + microbicides + Africa
Carageenan gel
elenafox-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $6.00
Good research.  I have heard that a majority of the population have
symptomfree viruses example hpv or cold sores that could be passed on
from skin/skin contact such as genital/genital or feet/feet.  Do you
think these gels would be a good supplement for preventing
transmission of these invisible viruses for instance rubbing on the
feet before entering a sauna or applying around the mouth before
kissing?  Which gel do you think is the best of the ones that exist?

There are no comments at this time.

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