Can Carrageenan Based Lube Prevent HPV Infection

The Human Papilloma Virus, also known as HPV, is one of the most common STI’s currently. There is vaccination against it as well.

However, one thing to consider is that ten years ago, it wasn’t that rampant, or it was and just not diagnosed.

Generally, HPV strains are divided into cancer-causing (High-risk) and wart-causing (low-risk).

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According to CDC, the prevalence of genital HPV infection was 42.5% during the year 2013-2014 in age group 18-59 [1], out of which, 45% were men. This included both the wart-causing and cancer-causing form of HPV.

On the other hand, the prevalence of high-risk HPV infection was 22.7 percent during the same timeframe as above [2].

Both of these numbers provide a brief glimpse of how important it is to prevent transmission from one party to another.

According to NY Times, there are about 40 strains of the virus that are transmitted through sex, and the majority of people are infected and exposed to it by the time they are in their early 20s [3].

Considering the consequences, you will want to keep yourself as safe as possible.
So is there a way to prevent the transmission of HPV?

Studies showed a consistent and proper use of condoms will greatly reduce the transmission of HPV, but condoms are still not 100% effective in preventing the transmission, as discussed in a previous article.

Is there something that can kill the disease before it infects us?

Science seems to think that Carrageenan is the answer to that. Let’s have a look.

What is Carrageenan and How Does it Work Against HPV?

While the name is long it’s a simple and inexpensive extract made from seaweed and has been found to be an extremely potent inhibitor of HPV.[4]

While there are multiple versions of it, not all that they reviewed were as effective as the next. However, more testing is still needed.

According to the same research, the carrageenan directly binds itself to the viral capsid, and therefore effectively prevents it from attaching and infecting the other person.

One thing to keep in mind though is that these are specifically being researched for genital contact because the effectiveness against oral HPV is not nearly as effective.

HPV is not the only disease whose transmission might be prevented with carrageenan, HIV Is also on the list. While less is needed for HPV inhibition, they still work the same way.[5]

There is a study going on in Thailand for the effectiveness of this product against HIV [6], which would be such an amazing advancement in the world of medicine.

HPV Can Also Be Transmitted to the Fetus

Another important factor is that HPV and genital warts can be transmitted to a baby.

One of the diseases that is connected to the genital wart-associated HPV is Juvenile-Onset Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis, and carrageenan seems to be helping to prevent the growth of the disease orally in newborns (some formulas contain carrageenan).

They are also considering using it in topical form during birth as it appears to prevent the infant from contracting the disease.[7]

Which Products have Been Found Effective?

The list isn’t necessarily that long regarding what products are shown as preventing HPV. Consider that more testing is still needed to ensure that the product is going to do what it’s supposed to do and have more certainty.

If you are looking to find a lube containing carrageenan, some of these products are listed below [8]:

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that in order to prevent disease transmission it’s important to know what will work at killing different diseases as well as what won’t work.

Also knowing that there are trials being run and advances being made to protect the next generation (even with vaccinations against HPV) is forthcoming.

A product as simple to use as a personal lube can help make you safer as well as more comfortable during the process.

While the science is working it’s magic and gathering more evidence that carrageenan can effectively block the transmission of HPV, still be cautious with what you are using and with the fact that condoms might not completely prevent against it.

This is a scary thought, considering condoms are supposed to be the way to prevent the transmission of STI’s and when they’re not, it adds apprehension to what should be a great experience.

Let’s hope that science wins and we can put our faith in something to prevent us from getting a disease that could essentially cause cancer.


  1. McQuillan G, Kruszon-Moran D, Markowitz LE, Unger ER., Paulose-Ram R. Prevalence of HPV in adults aged 18–69: United States, 2011–2014. NCHS data brief, no 280. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017 [Link]
  2. See above #1
  3. Nicholas Bakalar. Close to Half of American Adults Infected with HPV, Survey Finds. [Link]
  4. Carrageenan Is a Potent Inhibitor of Papillomavirus Infection [Link]
  5. Dermatology Times. Compound in Some Sexual Lubricants Kills HPV In Vitro. [Link]
  6. Carrageenan-Based Gel Retains Limited Anti-HIV-1 Activity 8–24 Hours After Vaginal Application by HIV-Infected Thai Women Enrolled in a Phase I Safety Trial [Link]
  7. Buck, C. B., Thompson, C. D., Roberts, J. N., Muller, M., Lowy, D. R., & Schiller, J. T. Carrageenan Is a Potent Inhibitor of Papillomavirus Infection. PLoS Pathog. 2006 Jul; 2(7): e69. Published online 2006 Jul 14 [Link]
  8. See above #5

unsure what size
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