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The development of methods to prevent HIV infection is critical to curbing the rising epidemic. Topical microbicides represent a potential new strategy for reduction of HIV transmission. The purpose of this article is to update and expand upon the nonclinical recommendations of a previously published document on the development of microbicides prepared by the International Working Group on Microbicides. The nonclinical studies discussed here represent general concepts and regulatory considerations that are pertinent to the development of topical microbicides for prevention or reduction of HIV transmission. Essential early steps in product development include the determination of antiviral activity, cytotoxicity, mechanism of action, pathways to resistance, and cross-resistance to approved drugs. Other parameters to consider include activity against vaginal microflora and pathogens that cause sexually transmitted diseases. Before and during clinical trials, nonclinical data on toxicology and pharmacokinetics should be obtained. Finally, product quality issues, including microbicide formulation characteristics, interaction with other products, and stability, should be addressed.