Background: BufferGel is a novel spermicidal and microbicidal gel formulated to maintain the natural protective acidity of the vagina by acidifying semen, which otherwise alkalinizes the vagina.
Goal: To test the efficacy of BufferGel for preventing sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy in animal models.
Study design: Animals were challenged with pathogens or sperm after pretreatment with both test and control agents, or after no pretreatment, then evaluated for infection or pregnancy using standard methods.
Results: BufferGel provided significant contraceptive efficacy in the rabbit, and significant protection against vaginal and rectal transmission of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) in the mouse, vaginal transmission of Chlamydia trachomatis in the mouse, and skin transmission of cottontail rabbit papillomavirus in the rabbit. It did not protect against vaginal transmission of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the mouse.
Conclusions: The protective efficacy of BufferGel in five of the six animal models suggests that this microbicide warrants clinical evaluation for both contraception and disease prevention.