Would An HIV-Killing Sex Gel Encourage Widespread Barebacking?

Medical researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles had 36 HIV-negative men and women use a topical microbicide gel containing a potent anti-HIV drug. The study participants then provided rectal tissue samples to researchers who exposed the samples to HIV in the laboratory.

The researchers found that the gel significantly reduced infection even though it was originally developed for vaginal use. They’ll formulate a rectal version and start testing it in January.

Medical writer Enrique Rivero notes that “anal-receptive intercourse is known to be the main route for new HIV infections in men who have sex with men.”

So… once the anal gel is on the market, will it provide an excuse for some to start barebacking again? Or would it simply be a way for determined barebackers to cut down on the possibility of infection?

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #analsex #hiv #safesex stories and more


  • TooFrank

    Come on, really? Like distributing condoms in prisons encourages prison sex? Or like birth control options encourage promiscuity? This is an age-old sex-negative argument that I’m surprised to see in Queerty.

  • phallus

    Oh please sign me up to be the first to use this stuff. Anyone want to risk their life relying on an anus cream? BTW, does it kill other STD diseases or prevent pregeancy? One cream does all?

  • Daniel Villarreal

    @TooFrank: Hey I actually agree with you on the way I covered this one. What’s the better question we should be asking in light of this medical breakthrough?


    The MSM who are careless w/ barebacking (whether they are on the DL or not) and have unprotected anal sex aren’t putting on condoms and they probably aren’t going to take the time to use this anal gel. i think it’s a great research development and application, but but as for the men who don’t put on condoms or use lube b/c even that makes the act too purposeful or evident or real, i don’t think they are going to use it. buying lube or this gel or putting on condoms makes it self-evident to them that they are engaging in risky behavior, so to keep themselves in denial they’re not going to use this butt gel when really it’s exactly what they need.

  • soakman

    I may be wrong, but I think even barebackers tend to use lube frequently. Therefore, this actually would be useful for the barebacking scene. If they’re going to bareback regardless, you might as well use the HIV ‘safer’ lube.

    I just don’t know if they will bother buying it unless it’s a good lube to begin with.

  • B

    No. 5 · Daniel Villarreal wrote, “@TooFrank: Hey I actually agree with you on the way I covered this one. What’s the better question we should be asking in light of this medical breakthrough?”

    When (or whether) it will be available commercially and whether it could be included with lubricated condoms?

    Seriously, there is no reason not to use this stuff if it works – as added protection
    in case a condom fails, not as a replacement for a condom.

    It would be even better if it could kill off other viruses and bacteria as well, and if there was an oral mouthwash that would behave similarly, providing protection that lasts long enough.

    Keep in mind that some people who are anal (in the figurative sense) about using condoms may have partners who will always use a condom with them but will bareback with someone else, with the condom user none the wiser. If the gel reduces the risk, it helps everyone.

  • Giddygumdrops

    I think it’s an interesting question but as many have already stated, people who choose to bareback will probably do so anyway. What I think is more interesting is the question of commercialization–in a good way. Imagine partnering with KY or Trojan to create lubricated condoms that are also anti-HIV, similar to spermicide on condoms to combat pregnancy. It would offer those practicing safe sex an even higher degree of safety.

    This is huge!

  • FreddyMertz

    Depends on the santorum.

  • LukeM

    News Flash: People already bareback. Give them the damn gel already!

  • steve

    Alot of guys I know already bareback and pull out before cumming, but yeah I can see how this would be an extra precaution

    And yes I know that pulling out isn’t 100% safe either, yeah yeah yeah, heard it all before from you guys. I’m not claiming to do it myself…

  • WillBFair

    The obvious application for this is with a condom, for added protection. Hopefully it’ll help us stop hiv in the community.
    To answer your question, Daniel, no one with brains will use it as an excuse to bareback. But brainless and heartless people will use any excuse no matter how lame. Notice B’s calling your innocent question ‘sex negative.’ That was the barebackers’ excuse in the eighties. Anyone who talked about stopping hiv was sex negative. More twisted rhetoric from the self destrctive crowd.

  • WillBFair

    @Daniel Villarreal: There’s nothing sex negative about your question. It’s a valid concern, especially since a chunk of the community have been making excuses for barebacking for thirty years.
    And remember, the sex negative line is one of those excuses. It was used by the self destructive crowd in the eighties to silence anyone who talked about stopping hiv.

  • Chris

    Honestly, I wonder if we could put in place some regulation that requires this gel in ALL lube.

    The fact is, people bareback. Dumb, downlow, denial, whatever, they do it. I remember a recent poll showing only 44% of MSM use condoms. It explains the infection rate, considering how low your chances of contracting HIV from one individual encounter are.

    So put this in all the lubes. Risk reduction – it’s the best public health policy.

  • B

    No. 13 · WillBFair incorrectly said, “Notice B’s calling your innocent question ‘sex negative.’”

    What the hell are you babbling about? He asked for a better question and I provided one,
    basically asking, “When can we buy the stuff in a store,” which is not in any way, shape, or form calling his question “sex negative.” It isn’t commenting about his question at all, just answering it.

    Otherwise I indicated that it sounds like a good idea – extra protection with no extra fuss or bother. If you are going to use lube with a condom anyway, it’s all the better if the lube can kill any virus that somehow gets past the barrier.

  • skylover

    Gay marriage? I have no objection!
    My concern is that more and more gay men get STD. It seems that gay men is easier to get an STD.
    According to the report from the largest STD dating site pózlóving.c-/0m ==, the gay subscribers
    increased continually. Most of them are sexy.

  • skylover

    HIV positive singles face very difficult challenges when it comes to dating. They have to either date someone with HIV or disclose their HIV status. Disclosing to someone that’s HIV- is a terrifying task and finding someone else with HIV. pózlóving.c-/0m help you Dating and Finding Love for HIV Positive Singles
    To all of us who are positive stay strong and don’t let anyone put you down, life is not a rehearsal it is here and now so live the best way you can. Check out pózlóving.c-/0m, You can know many inspirational story here!You are not alone.

  • Daniel

    @TooFrank: right, but if it’s not nearly-100% effective (like condoms and many birth control options, then it is worth considering the possibility that relying on it could be dangerous.

  • Pozitive Link

    My true feelings about this topic is that people will probably choose unprotected sex (or bare-backing) given the knowledge that there is a product that kills HIV. I think this will give people a sense of protection and possibly set the stage for an internal dialogue that will help them justify not using a condom.

  • SiouxCityBoy

    Those who BareBack do so regardless of the potential consequences. This product, if made easily and cheaply available, would reduce the number of infections between those who are negative and those who are presumed negative and not. This product would help many people including both gay men, straight men, and straight women. This product would help the straight population where there is an occasional infection by the straight or gay or bi-sexual man who has been unfaithful to his partner. I suspect this product would also assist in protecting those who are hiv positive in becoming additional infected by a larger load of the virus or perhaps a different and more viral strain of the virus. Additionally since condoms are not 100% effective, this product would provide further protection to those that use condoms.

    I would like to see such a product on the market!

  • Mike

    I don’t have an issue with making this market accessible, but let’s not forget the lesson of nonoyxnol-9, and let’s make sure that whatever enthusiasm for the new gel is tempered by wider testing on the market. Nonoxynol-9 was supposed to reduce HIV infection: after all, it killed the virus. In reality, used with condoms or without it actually inflamed the linings of the rectum and made transmission MORE likely.

    I’m not saying that this is the case with this one — but like, it’s been tested on 36 people. I may be a commitment-phobe but, let’s not rush into things.

  • trevor bartlet

    Of course it will. WHY ELSE WOULD THE PRODUCT EXIST. Duh.

  • Robert

    I’m confused. If this gel makes condom-less sex safe again, they why would it still carry the taint of “barebacking”… Yes, I’d like to have sex without a condom if there’s a solution to HIV transmission. What a lame guilt laden framing in this article.

  • B

    No. 24 · Robert wrote, “I’m confused. If this gel makes condom-less sex safe again, they why would it still carry the taint of “barebacking”…”

    The claim was that the gel would significantly reduce the chance of an infection, not eliminate the risk.

    Re No. 22: The ‘rectal’ version will apparently be tested in January, and I’m sure that testing will initially verify that there is not an issue with inflammation before they ask people to use it while having sex – the people who are going to test it undoubtedly know about the problem No. 22 mentioned regarding nonoyxnol-9.

  • Mitch

    Honestly, of all the recent developments in HIV prevention, rectal microbicides are probably the most promising. A vaccine ain’t gonna happen anytime soon, and chemoprophylaxis is a morally bankrupt clusterfuck that has historically increased the rate of STD transmission. If an effective microbicide is made cheaply enough, it can be used to enhance the effectiveness of safer sex, without necessarily encouraging stupid behavior. The trick will be to make sure that people understand that the gel is not intended as a complement to condoms. Given the way that the pharmaceutical industry loves to exploit HIV and the behavior of gay men, that’ll be far tougher to swing than any scientific breakthrough.

  • rickroberts

    Yeah, and why not?

  • Cam

    “”So… once the anal gel is on the market, will it provide an excuse for some to start barebacking again? Or would it simply be a way for determined barebackers to cut down on the possibility of infection?””

    Why is this author ALWAYS the one that takes a point that comes off as vaguely anti-gay?

    Here is a better question.

    Gee, if condoms were determined to cut down on HIV infection will it provide an excuse for some to start having sex again or merely a way for determined perverts to cut down on the possibility of infection?

    Barebacking in itself isn’t some inherently evil action. It is the fact that it can have a high risk of HIV infection. If this gel offers the same protection as condoms, then why would you attack the people that would use it?

    But then again, when has this author ever missed a chance to take a dig at gays?

Comments are closed.