some good news from the HIV front

The interwebs is buzzing with the news. According to an article published in Nature today, glycerol monolaurate or GML (a common ingredient in cosmetics and medications, as well as a component of breast milk) seems to stop HIV cold.

Before you get too excited, the experiment looked at monkeys and SIV (the monkey equivalent of HIV). They’ll need a lot more testing before they know if it works and is safe for people. But here’s the summary. They took GML, which is already approved by the FDA, and added it to KY Warming Lube, which is also approved by the FDA. They applied it to some monkeys for 5 days and then applied 200 doses of HIV. The control group didn’t get the GML.

Predictably enough, the control group developed AIDS and in the short term, none of the GML monkeys did. However, one of the GML monkeys showed signs of infection several months later. So there’s still work to be done, and in any case, they don’t know if regular vaginal exposure is safe.

Apparently, recent studies also show that GML kills lots of different germs, including yeast infections and several sexually transmitted infections, so this could have a lot of different benefits.

I wonder if they’ll test it for anal use. I’d like to think that it’d be a no-brainer, but you never know with these research types. I also wonder if they’ll test it for flavor- after all, if you need to apply it in advance, I’d really be bummed if it meant less oral sex.

And I’ve gotta ask- why the heck did they use a warming lube with monkeys? There are other FDA-approved lubes out there. Maybe it was on sale at the drugstore or something.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. heatherjoy klein says:

    I am very passionate about eradicating HIV/AIDS. I would love to contribute to this cause but I my greatest passion is the rights of all sentient beings. What is being done to non human species of animals is despicable. Giving monkeys AIDS is horrendous. I would rather die of AIDS than have innocent living creatures be tortured in the name of “research.” The fact that you have nonchalantly discussed monkeys being given AIDs in reference to a breakthrough in the fight against the virus sickens and horrifies me.

  2. Charlie says:

    I can certainly understand why you (and many others) disagree with animal testing. And for many of the purposes that it’s used for, like cosmetics, I would LOVE to see animal testing stopped.

    But when it comes to medications and other medical advances, we may have to part ways. I’d much prefer to live in a world where we had a better option. But we don’t always have a better way to assess the effectiveness and safety of possible new treatments. Would it be better to create a new drug and find out that it doesn’t work? Or should we find out that it causes other effects by giving it to lots of people and keeping our fingers crossed? I’m not at all causal about animal testing. I could have glossed that over, but I chose not to because I think it’s important to disclose full information.

    At the same time, I’m sure that there’s enough information about how SIV works that they could have not used a “control” group. I think that the requirement for that part of the protocol is unnecessary cruelty. While I think that *some* animal testing is necessary, I also think that it needs to be minimized, both in terms of how many animals are used and how the experiments are designed.

    I’m sorry that the way that I wrote about the experiment sickened and horrified you. I was focusing on the topic of HIV prevention and sexuality, this being the Good Vibrations blog. I didn’t write about my views on minimizing animal testing, but that doesn’t mean that I support that part of the experiment.

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