The development of topical inserts for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), represents a promising alternative to oral and parenteral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) dosage forms. They may be used for vaginal and/or rectal administration of a variety of agents with antiviral activity. Topical inserts deliver drugs to the portal of viral entry, i.e., the genital or rectal mucosa, with low systemic exposure, and therefore are safer and have fewer side effects than systemic PrEP agents.
The role of technology in the delivery of medicine guarantees revolutionary advances with measuring the size of the particles in nanometer ranges; this detailed analysis has helped improve the efficiency of drug delivery on a large scale. The application of drug delivery has facilitated advanced treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, pulmonary, genetic, and infectious diseases and considers assessment and review procedures involved in the development of gene-based pharmaceuticals.
Men and women engaged in unprotected receptive anal intercourse (RAI) are at higher risk of acquiring HIV from infected partners. The implementation of preventive strategies is urgent and rectal microbicides may be a useful tool in reducing the sexual transmission of HIV. However, pre-clinical and first clinical trials have been able to identify limitations of candidate products, mostly related with safety issues, which can in turn enhance viral infection.