PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Penn State Researchers Working to Prevent the Spread of HIV

Something extraordinary is being created by the Penn State Food Science Department, and we’re not talking Creamery Ice Cream.

Penn State researchers have developed a potential solution to prevent the transmission of HIV and AIDS. The solution: a vaginal suppository that can be inserted prior to intercourse.

Led by lead researcher Toral Zaveri, a postdoctoral scholar of the Food Science Department, the suppository is primarily made of carrageenan, a seaweed-based food additive. Being a plant-based food additive, carageenan is vegetarian friendly, risk-free from animal-based infections, and effectively dodges any religious objections that may arise from animal-based products.

Additionally, Carrageenan was chosen over gelatin used in similar suppositories because of its superior stability in higher temperatures, which plays a huge role when considering mass production to countries of warmer climates.

Traditionally, the spread of sexually transmitted infections is prevented through the proper use of condoms, though Zaveri explains that in countries and regions where HIV and AIDS are more prevalent such as certain countries in Africa, proper condom usage is not always guaranteed.

“Due to socioeconomic and gender inequities, women in some countries and cultures are not always in a position to negotiate regular condom use, so a drug-dispersing suppository can protect against transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections during heterosexual intercourse with a partner whose infection status may or may not be known to the woman.”

This suppository would therefore give women the opportunity to engage in sexual intercourse while reducing their likelihood of contracting the HIV virus, thereby becoming a sort of an HIV version of the birth control pill.

The suppository itself was developed through the Sensory Evaluation Center in Penn State’s Department of Food Science. Female participants indicated their willingness to try different suppositories and their imagination of ease of insertion upon being presented with suppositories of varying sizes, textures, and shapes.

The drug within the suppository, Tenofovir, was tested in a simulated vaginal environment to ensure that the drug would be released from the suppository upon insertion. The suppository effectively releases the drug even in the presence of semen.

The suppository is being researched for mass production and packaging. According to Zaveri, carrageenan has already been approved, and the testing for safety has already been completed via previous clinical trials, making the product marketable for relatively quick commercialization.

About the Author

Yuka Narisako

Yuka legally immigrated to the United States via airplane in 1996 from the small island nation of Japan. Since then she has migrated throughout the country and now identifies herself as a senior majoring in Architectural Engineering. The Shandygaff is her Happy Place, though she was once kicked out of the establishment after breaking her shoe and screaming “I LOVE DAY DRINKING. I’M HAVING FUN.” Yuka is overly enthusiastic about life in general, but especially Ja Rule, Halloween, and the puffy black vest she purchased from the Gap. You can reach her at [email protected], or through Twitter @yukahontass.

Comments

More by Yuka

You’re Not Embarrassing, You’re Just Fun: Yuka Narisako’s Senior Column

I’ve spent the last five years at Penn State, not because I failed a handful of classes, but because I chose my major somewhat blindly not realizing it was a five year program until after I submitted my application. Five years later, I’m about to get a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a minor over the course of one weekend.

Penn Stater Eliraz Katz Wins National Powerlifting Championship

Men’s Gymnastics To Host Big Ten Championships This Weekend

Athletics

Shea Moyer Lifts Penn State Women’s Soccer Past West Virginia 1-0

Sophomore midfielder Shea Moyer scored the game-winning goal in the 80th minute of a rainy season opener at Jeffrey Field.

Penn State Women’s Soccer Poised For Strong 2018 Season

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Student Life

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Nike Releases New Penn State Sneakers

Penn State Parking Office Runs Into Student Permit Purchase Issues

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Start The Semester Off Right With These Welcome Week Activities

Don your brightly-colored college shirt and officially begin your Penn State career with these Welcome Week activities.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Assessing Penn State’s Front Seven Following Tuesday’s Medical Retirements

Penn State’s defensive line rotation will be shaken up following Ryan Buchholz’s medical retirement from football, while the coaching staff is letting the linebackers duel it out during camp.

Send this to a friend