Volume 92, Issue 79

Wednesday, February 17, 1998


Federal budget fails to address education

Hailing a safety solution

U of T gets movie blues

Western alumnus feared dead after avalanche

Faculty vote against open voting rights

Washing hope into disease

Safety issues spring up before break

Washing hope into disease

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

Safer sex now means cleaner sex.

New research has pointed to the use of an ingredient found in most shampoos and toothpastes can prevent HIV infection, viruses which can cause cervical cancer and also herpes.

Clarence Crossman, AIDS and HIV consultant for the AIDS Committee of London ,said a study was conducted at Penn State University medical centre in Hershey, Pennsylvania regarding HIV prevention.

The results demonstrated how a detergent in shampoo and toothpaste called sodium dodecyl sulfate could be used to prevent the contraction of the virus.

"The detergent has been shown to dissolve the protein code of the virus so the virus is effectively destroyed," Crossman said.

He added this is a breakthrough in AIDS research. "The more options people have in protecting themselves, the better.

"People need options."

Lisa McCann, media relations officer for the Canadian AIDS Society, said although they have yet to receive a copy of the study, many people have inquired about the possibility of sodium dodecyl sulfate use. "It's fairly new," she said. "But we've received a lot of calls about it."

Crossman added although it is a breakthrough, it is by no means a cure for AIDS. "Once a person is affected with HIV – they have it for good," he said. Crossman added it is too early to tell the effects of the study.

Another downfall to the discovery is, if formulated and marketed into a preventative method of the HIV virus, it may be limited to female use. "It has to do with microbosides," McCann said. "It could have some use with prevention in women."

The possibility of the sodium dodecyl sulfate detergent being accessible to people in the future is very likely, Crossman added. "To have something that could be put into an ointment is something that's very promising," he said.

Robert McMurtry, dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry at Western, said he had heard of the study and felt hopeful of this discovery. "I find it intriguing," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999