Analysis Modify: Are Lubes Secure for Rectal Intercourse?

The outcomes of two clinical tests had been released this year (in the Overseas Microbicides Conference) which, some may think, call into question the security of utilizing lubricants for anal intercourse. Exactly what do these total outcomes reveal? May be the evidence adequate to alter our safer intercourse texting? We do not think therefore — take a look at the explanation for why we do not think our texting about lube usage for rectal intercourse should alter.

Lubes and Tissue Damage

For starters of this studies, researchers analyzed various lubricants (lubes) in a lab. They unearthed that most lubes had higher levels of dissolved salts and sugars than generally present a mobile. Due to this, a few of the lubes possessed a toxic impact on the anal tissue examined in a test pipe into the lab. This caused anal tissues to be stripped away. 1 If these items have actually the exact same impact when utilized in individuals, the damaged anal tissue could possibly be more in danger of HIV as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than it currently is.

The scientists tested six lubes that can be bought over-the-counter. Five had been water-based lubes (Astroglide, Elbow Grease, ID Glide, KY Jelly and Prй genital lubricant) and another had been silicone-based (Wet Platinum).

The real properties associated with the lubes had been calculated and four (Astroglide, Elbow Grease, ID Glide and Jelly that is KY discovered to draw water out from the cells lining the anus and in to the anus it self, damaging the cells. Whenever these four lubes had been tested on anal muscle in a test pipe, these were found to strip away cells in the layer that is outer of muscle. Two for the lubes, Prй and damp Platinum, caused reasonably small harm.

Lubes and Intimately Transmitted Infections

The 2nd research discovered that people whom reported making use of lubes for receptive rectal intercourse in past times had been around three times almost certainly going to have rectal STI if they had been tested throughout the study compared to those whom failed to report using a lube. This increased risk for the STI had been current even when a condom ended up being utilized. 2

Between October 2006 and December 2008, 879 women and men from the rectal microbicide research effort had been surveyed about their intimate behavior and had been tested for just two anal STIs (gonorrhea and chlamydia). Somewhat fewer than half of this research individuals (421) reported having receptive anal sex in the year that is past. Regarding the 229 males and 192 women that had had receptive anal intercourse, intimate behavior interviews and anal tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea had been designed for 302 of those research participants. Inside this team, about three-quarters (230) stated that they had utilized a lube the very last time that they had rectal intercourse. Of those, 67% utilized a water-based lube, 28% utilized a silicon-based lube, 17% utilized an oil-based lube ( e.g., Crisco), and 6% used numbing lubes. These figures total up to a lot more than 100% because some social people utilized one or more form of lube.

Anal chlamydia or gonorrhea had been present in 5.6% of females and 10.2% of males. About one in nine (11.7%) regarding the individuals who used lube the last time they had anal intercourse had an anal STI, in comparison to about one in 22 (4.5%) associated with individuals who’d maybe maybe maybe not utilized lube. Over two-thirds (68%) of individuals identified as having an anal STI had utilized a lube when compared with one-third (32%) who’d maybe perhaps perhaps not utilized a lube. Once the researchers looked over other facets such as for instance condom usage, wide range of lovers, how many times some body had intercourse, their sex, or HIV status, the analysis indicated that the employment of some lubes for rectal intercourse may raise the danger of obtaining A sti that is rectal by 3 x.

Just What Exactly Performs This Suggest?

Definitive conclusions can’t be made considering these scholarly studies alone. The researchers looked at the effects of lube in a test tube in the first study. This doesn’t reveal in regards to the effectation of utilizing lube during intercourse. Regardless of if lubes may damage anal muscle, it could be that their usage results much more good than damage. Utilizing a lube during intercourse helps it be more unlikely that the condom will break or slip down. This alone decreases the possibility of HIV or STI transmission. Even if condoms are not utilized, lube usage might reduce injury to anal tissues, reducing the danger for illness with HIV or any other STI. It is impossible for all of us to understand using this research whether utilizing lube during anal intercourse, with or with out a condom, wil dramatically reduce or increase injury to tissue that is anal affect the danger for disease with HIV or any other STI.

The study that is second a correlation between your utilization of lubes additionally the transmission of STIs. Nonetheless, correlation and causality are a couple of various things: an analytical correlation will not show a causal relationship. The scientists attempted to exclude other factors that are causal. But, this kind of analysis cannot rule out all prospective causal facets. For instance, individuals who use lubes may be much more prone to transfer STIs involving the rectum and penis along with their hands once they use lube before having rectal intercourse. Also, this research only investigated the connection between lubes and specific STIs (gonorrhea and chlamydia). This research failed to have a look at HIV transmission so we can not draw conclusions concerning the results of lube on HIV transmission.

The Verdict

There isn’t evidence that is sufficient those two studies to state for certain (a) simply how much harm lubes may do into the rectal muscle whenever useful for anal intercourse and (b) whether lube usage can impact the possibility of getting HIV or another STI. More research has to be achieved to see which lubes are safe, which lubes can harm tissue that is rectal if some lubes are far more harmful than the others, and exactly what the results of this feasible harm on HIV and STI transmission can be.

Undoubtedly, individuals must not throw in the towel lubes that are using combination with condoms, which offer optimal security during rectal intercourse.

Zak Knowles is CATIE’s supervisor of site content. Before arriving at CATIE he worked being an HIV counsellor at straight forward Clinic, a intimate wellness center in downtown Toronto. Zak was coping with HIV for two decades.