Pokeweed Protein Kills HIV Without Harming Sperm
In vitro, PAP didn't impair the sperm's ability to move about (motility) or to fertilize an egg. Contrary to many other substances that have been investigated, PAP didn't seem to damage female genital tract epithelial cells either. In addition, it had no adverse effects on pregnancy outcome in test rabbits, including gestation length, pregnancy rate, perinatal outcome, or growth and development of the offspring.
Pokeweed is a common, somewhat poisonous, plant found throughout much of the United States, including here in Central Texas. Despite its name being a setup for punny jokes about sex acts, if pokeweed gives us a useful compound for a vaginal gel microbicide, that will be a major step forward in combatting HIV and other viral STDs.
For details, see the journal Fertility & Sterility (Jan 2001; 75:106-114).