Topical microbicides, the next generation prevention tool for HIV and other sexually transmitted pathogens, hold great promise if the target vaginal or rectal epithelium is coated effectively. A microbicide consists of an active ingredient within a polymeric delivery vehicle (e.g. polymeric liquid or ‘gel’). Most research in the field of microbicides has been limited to the development of an active ingredient and many microbicidal trails have failed in the past. Thus, there is a need to design a delivery vehicle that optimizes the efficacy of a microbicidal agent. The effectiveness of the gel depends on the gel’s rheological properties as well as the vaginal tissue properties, vaginal geometry, and external forces like gravity. A good design must take these factors in to consideration and a better understanding of the gel’s flow behavior over the epithelium is important before proceeding with clinical trials.

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