The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of HIV/AIDS has launched an initiative with the Population Council, an international nongovernmental organization, to support the development of microbicides that do not contain antiretroviral (ARV) medications, according to a USAID statement. The non-ARV microbicides would prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes simplex virus 2. Such a gel-like product without ARVs could eliminate the need for HIV screening needed for microbicides with ARVs, as well as reduce drug-resistant HIV that could result from microbicides with ARVs and lead to an over-the-counter product. The five-year, $20 million initiative was made possible by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). No microbicide is currently approved for use.

To read the statement, click here.