The Grapevine

Personal Lubricant Made From Seaweed Extract May Prevent HPV, One Of The Most Widely Spread STIs

Nearly everyone will get HPV at some point in their lives, and while there is a vaccination that protects against the most prevalent cancer- and warts-causing types, inoculation rates are low. So a team of researchers at Rutgers University are working on a personal lubricant made with seaweed extract that could thwart HPV, according to MedicalXpress.

ReadHPV Vaccine Inoculation Rates Low Despite Success At Preventing Virus-Related Cancers And Warts

Carrageenans are a substance found in seaweed that is typically used to thicken food, however scientists are looking to use it in a gel lubricant that can be applied to prevent the STI during sex. They’ll recruit 100 women who will be randomly assigned the lubricant with the seaweed extract or a control lubricant without. Participants will use the topical before and after sex and undergo a monthly test to see whether carrageenans have any HPV protection, writes MedicalXpress.

"Carrageenans in a  lubricant is a totally new approach to prevent HPV infection in those of any age," Mark  Einstein, a professor at Rutgers and researcher for this study, said in MedicalXpress.

As we previously reported, 9 out of 10 people will contract HPV. The most effective prevention are the FDA-approved vaccines, which prevent the strains linked to about 70 percent of cervical cancers. Gardasil, one of the most popular vaccines, prevents the virus linked to about 90 percent of gentail warts cases. A study from 2015 shows that almost 25,000 HPV-related cancers could be prevented each year just with vaccination. However, many teens and young adults go without this optional shot.

The HPV vaccine is only approved for adults up to 26 years old, so this new lubricant could be a good choice for those who can no longer elect to receive the shot.

Read5 Most Common STDs In Women: How To Spot Symptoms Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

"If effective, this approach can be a cheap, women-controlled way that can empower women to protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer," said Einstein.

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