An experimental sex lubricant designed by Australian researchers could help block both HIV and genital herpes, a study suggests.

Tests on lab animals have shown that the microbicide gel, called Viva Gel, inactivates the HIV virus and another responsible for genital herpes, News.com.au reports.

Lead researcher Dr. Jeremy Paull from Melbourne-based pharmaceutical company Starpharma told the International AIDS Society conference in Sydney the gel would be used by heterosexual men who apply it directly to themselves before sex.

It would be most useful in sub-Saharan African nations where the HIV epidemic is mostly seen among heterosexuals.

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The active ingredient in the microbicide is dendrimer, a molecule which binds itself to the viruses and prevents them from infecting healthy cells, Paull said.