Australian researchers are hoping the female hormone estrogen will help reduce the spread of HIV, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne found that estrogen could help prevent HIV infection by blocking entry of the virus into the penis, the story reported.

The study, conducted by the university’s Department of Zoology, showed that applying the female hormone to the penis increases the thickness of the natural keratin layer in the skin, creating a "natural condom," AAP reported.

"We have found a new avenue to possibly prevent HIV infection of the penis," lead researcher professor Roger Short said in a news release.

"In countries where circumcision is not religiously or culturally accepted, estrogen treatments to the penis could be very effective in reducing the spread of the disease."

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