• anti-HIV hydrogels;
  • nanotechnology;
  • self-delivery;
  • self-assembly;
  • supramolecular interaction


None of the clinical trials of anti-HIV gels based on conventional polymers or lipid emulsions has been successful, suggesting the need of new molecular design of the anti-HIV gels. This paper reports the conversion of anti-HIV prodrugs into self-delivery supramolecular hydrogels. By covalently conjugating reverse transcriptase inhibitors to a versatile self-assembly motif, the hydrogelators that self-assemble to form supramolecular nanofibers as the matrices of hydrogels in a weak acidic condition are obtained. Upon the treatment of prostate acid phosphatase (PAP), the hydrogels exhibit drastically enhanced elasticity. The hydrogelators are biocompatible and able to release the inhibitors under physiological condition. The use of the self-assembly motif as a self-delivery agent containing non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) renders this hydrogel to be both anti-inflammatory and anti-HIV. This work illustrates an unprecedented approach for designing multifunctional supramolecular hydrogels that may serve as potential anti-HIV hydrogels for sustained drug release.