LEMONS could soon be used to stop the spread of HIV.
to controversial research by Prof. Roger Short, a leading academic in
sexual health, acidic lemon juice destroys 90 per cent of the virus
within two minutes.
Prof Short believes the breakthrough could save million of lives across the world.
He spoke about the research for the first time in Britain during a lecture at Manchester University.
Short, of Melbourne University, hopes his breakthrough will lead to a
cheaply available gel - which women would be able to apply without
telling their partners.
And he has revealed that the research was inspired by Manchester graduate Marie Stopes, the family planning pioneer.
to the M.E.N. before giving the annual Doubleday lecture at the
university, Prof Short said: "I got the idea for using lemons from a
Marie Stopes, who set up the UK's first family planning clinic in 1918.
"When I spoke at an annual lecture in her honour in 1995 I was
astounded to find that in those days lemon was a common contraceptive.
Then in 2001 I found the acidity kills HIV, and could be developed into
a microbicide. There and then I decided to drop what I was doing and
concentrate on this project. Since then the data has been very
During his research Prof Short has visited the city of
Jos in Nigeria, where prostitutes routinely use lemons both as a
contraceptive and to ward off sexual transmitted disease.
Prof Short said: "The women
there swear by it, and if we could conduct a study to prove their
belief, the results would be earth shattering." He now plans to try out
the theory at a family planning clinic in Thailand, where he has
convinced more than 100 people not infected with HIV to have
unprotected sex with their partners to test the contraceptive qualities
of the fruit.
In a test tube, Prof Short says he has shown that
the acidity of just three millilitres of lemon juice can destroy 90 per
cent of the HIV virus, and immobilise sperm in less than two minutes.
is currently trying to find funding for his study, which has been
ignored by the academic establishment. For more information visit www.aids.net.au