When outside the body and within blood, semen, vaginal fluid, rectal fluid, or breast milk, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has a relatively short and fragile existence, and can be easily eliminated with soap, bleach, peroxide, or some spermicides.
There is a significant caveat when it comes to spermicides eliminating in vitro HIV. Spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 (N9) do not eliminate HIV infection because N9 irritates, and even causes inflammation of the soft tissues in the mouth, and linings of the vagina and rectum. N9 may even increase the risk of HIV infection. Most, if not all, US spermicidal creams, jellies, foams, gels, films, and suppositories’ active ingredient is N9.
In addition to barrier methods of contraception like male or female condoms, the best way to eliminate sexually transmitting HIV infection is with pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) medications. When taken daily, PrEP medications lower the risk of getting HIV by as much as 99%.
Although there is no cure for AIDS, those infected with HIV can lead long, healthy lives with daily antiretroviral drug therapy. One to six months of antiretroviral therapy can make HIV levels undetectable, and thereby reduces the chances of HIV infection developing into AIDS to nearly zero percent. When a person with HIV infection has undetectable levels of HIV, their risk of sexually transmitting HIV effectively vanishes.
Abdala, N., Crowe, M., Tolstov, Y., & Heimer, R. (2004). Survival of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 after rinsing infection syringes with different cleaning solutions. Substance Use and Misuse, 39, 581–600.
Baptista, M., Tavares, R., & Ramalho-Santos, J. (2014). Spermicidal and microbicidal compounds: In search of an efficient multipurpose strategy. Current Medicinal Chemistry, 21, 3693–3700.
HIV.gov. (2019). HIV Treatment Overview. HIV.gov: Washington, D.C. https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/staying-in-hiv-care/hiv-treatment/hiv-treatment-overview
Macapagal, K., Kraus, A., Korpak, A. K., Jozsa, K., & Moskowitz, D. A. (2020). PrEP awareness, uptake, barriers, and correlates among adolescents assigned male at birth who have sex with males in the U.S. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 49, 113–124.
Marais, D., Carrara, H., Kay, P., Ramjee, G., Allan, B., & Williamson, A. (2006). The impact of the use of COL-1492, a nonoxynol-9 vaginal gel, on the presence of cervical human papillomavirus in female sex workers. Virus Research, 121, 220–222.
Marcus, J. L., Leyden, W. A., Alexeeff, S. E., et al. (2020). Comparison of overall and comorbidity-free life expectancy between insured adults with and without HIV infection, 2000–2016. Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/article-abstract/2767138
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2020). 10 Things to Know about HIV Suppression. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Washington, D. C. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/10-things-know-about-hiv-suppression
Okoh, M., & Enabulele, J. E. (2020). HIV related knowledge among clinical dental students attending a Nigerian University. Nigerian Journal of Medical and Dental Education, 2, c13-c19.
Roddy, R. E., Zekeng, L., Ryan, K. A., Tamoufé, U., Weir, S. S., & Wong, E. L. (1998). A controlled trial of nonoxynol 9 film to reduce male-to-female transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. New England Journal of Medicine, 339, 504–510.
Zalenskaya, I.A., Cerocchi, O. G., Joseph, T., Donaghay, M. A., Schriver, S. D., & Doncel, G. F. (2011). Increased COX-2 expression in human vaginal epithelial cells exposed to nonoxynol-9, a vaginal contraceptive microbicide that failed to protect women from HIV-1 infection. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 65, 569–577.
Dr. Don Lucas, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and head of the Psychology Department at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio Texas. He loves psychology, teaching, and research.
If you like this paper, check out Don’s YouTube channel, 5MIweekly: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQFQ0vPPNPS-LYhlbKOzpFw/featured, like his Facebook page: http://fb.me/5MIWeekly, and check out his Medium site: https://humansexuality.medium.com/
HIV, AIDS, safe sex, men’s health, women’s health, human sexuality