Vivagel is a newly developed antiviral compound that has been shown to disable 99.9 percent of HIV, herpes, and other sexually transmitted viruses in laboratory tests. Developed by Australian biotech firm Starpharma, the gel has been incorporated into condoms made by Ansell, the world’s second largest condom manufacturer, to help stem the spread of these viruses.
As reported by Michael Janda at ABC News, these special virus-killing condoms have now received Conformity Assessment Certification from Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which means they should be available to consumers in Australia within months.
That’s the good news, but the researchers caution that no condoms are 100 percent effective in preventing either pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. However these condoms will actively reduce the number of virus particles that someone would be exposed to, which translates to a reduced chance of infection. Just last week, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that HIV diagnoses have reached a 20-year high in Australia.
The Vivagel condoms will also be manufactured in Japan by its biggest condom maker, Okamoto.
According to Starpharma's website, Vivagel is also being tested as a treatment for bacterial vaginosis, which is a common infection caused by an imbalance of the normal vaginal bacterial microflora. The gel is currently undergoing trials in the US in relation to providing symptomatic relief and the prevention of recurrence of this disorder in affected women.