© 2014 Elsevier Inc.. Condoms remain the most effective barrier against the sexual transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Male condoms have proven to be 80% to 90% effective, and female condoms have similar results. Poor adherence and improper use limit their effectiveness. In addition to condoms, microbicides are a promising barrier against HIV transmission. More than 50 candidate topical microbicide compounds have undergone preclinical or clinical testing in the last 10 years, but there are currently no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved compounds. Rectal microbicides are also being developed, as anal receptive sex is an effective mode of HIV transmission.