Clinical Pharmacokinetics

, Volume 53, Issue 7, pp 611–624 | Cite as

Pharmacokinetics of Antiretrovirals in Genital Secretions and Anatomic Sites of HIV Transmission: Implications for HIV Prevention

Review Article


The incidence of HIV remains alarmingly high in many parts of the world. Prophylactic use of antiretrovirals, capable of concentrating in the anatomical sites of transmission, may reduce the risk of infection after an unprotected sexual exposure. To date, orally and topically administered antiretrovirals have exhibited variable success in preventing HIV transmission in large-scale clinical trials. Antiretroviral mucosal pharmacokinetics may help explain the outcomes of these investigations. Penetration and accumulation of antiretrovirals into sites of transmission can influence dosing strategies and pre-exposure prophylaxis clinical trial design. Antiretroviral tissue distribution varies widely within and between drug classes, attributed in part to their physicochemical properties and tissue-specific drug transporter expression. Nucleoside(-tide) reverse transcriptase inhibitors, the CCR5 antagonist maraviroc, and the integrase inhibitor raltegravir demonstrate the highest penetration into the male and female reproductive tracts and colorectal tissue relative to blood. This review describes antiretroviral exposure in anatomic sites of transmission, and places these findings in context with the prevention of HIV and the efficacy of pre-exposure prophylactic strategies.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, UNC Eshelman School of PharmacyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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