Expanding the domain of drug delivery for HIV prevention: exploration of the transdermal route

Crit Rev Ther Drug Carrier Syst. 2017;34(6):551-587. doi: 10.1615/CritRevTherDrugCarrierSyst.2017020147.


Constant efforts for HIV prevention using antiretroviral drugs, pre- and postexposure prophylactic agents, and microbicides are being made by researchers. Drug-delivery systems such as oral tablets and coitally dependent vaginal gels are short acting, require daily application, and are associated with user adherence issues, whereas the coitally independent systems such as injectables and biodegradable implants are long acting, lasting several months, during which time the termination of prophylaxis is impractical in case of adverse effects. An effective drug-delivery system to be used for an intermediate duration, if available, would be an attractive alternative option for users in terms of adherence. Transdermal delivery systems, overcoming most of the limitations of the other routes of administration and aiming to provide sustained delivery of drugs through skin, may be explored for HIV prevention. Passive and physical enhancement techniques may be designed strategically to improve the transdermal delivery of HIV preventive agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis / methods*


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents