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New Condom Delivers an anti-HIV drug, Prevents Pregnancy, then Disappears

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posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 09:49 PM

Sex often fuels the adoption of cutting-edge technology, even in the burgeoning field of nano-fabrication. Researchers at the University of Washington have just published a paper in PLoS One describing how they'll use "electrospinning" to create next-generation female condoms made from specially customized nano-fibers.

According to a release about the study from University of Washington:

  • Electrospinning uses an electric field to catapult a charged fluid jet through air to create very fine, nanometer-scale fibers. The fibers can be manipulated to control the material's solubility, strength and even geometry. Because of this versatility, fibers may be better at delivering medicine than existing technologies such as gels, tablets, or pills.

Basically, the researchers' proposal is to spin ultra-thin female condoms woven out of cloth-like fibers and medicine. Above, you can see a magnified image of the resulting condom, complete with sperm who have tried to smash their way through it and failed miserably.

The condoms can be woven out of medicines that prevent HIV infections, providing protection against disease while also stopping sperm in their tracks. The electrospun condoms can be designed to dissolve within minutes, or over a period of several days. Women can discreetly put them on before a sexual encounter — either directly, or on a diaphragm or ring — and protect against pregnancy, HIV, and potentially other sexually transmitted diseases as well.

One of the fabrics they made dissolves within minutes, potentially offering users immediate, discrete protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The researchers have just received a $1 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop the technology.

Well this is good if they find a way to make it affordable and practical enough to actually use. This could prevent the spread of HIV and other communicable sexually transmitted diseases and save a lot of lives.

edit on 7-12-2012 by ShotGunRum because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 09:58 PM
reply to post by ShotGunRum

Not only does it save lives but it prevents lives as well. Dual purpose! I imagine they could also include a sperm killing spermicide as well. Good technology!


posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 10:56 PM
reply to post by ShotGunRum

the fact that it delivers an anti hiv drug is gonna make me people want to wear one

even the people that hate rubbers (like me)

posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 11:25 PM
Better hope it doesn't malfunction and dissolve while you're having sex...
Dissolving in a "couple of minutes" does not seem like a good sign...

posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 01:21 AM
As interesting as this is, it does seem a little pointless...

If you use a condom/diafram you'll be protected against HIV and other STIs, if you don't you won't be protected. Does it matter if the condom is made of latex or nano-fibres?

I can see that having anti-HIV drugs impregnated within the nano-fibres could be good if the condom breaks, but do you really want to be dosing yourself up with anti HIV drugs everytime you have sex? Those things when taken orally are pretty hardcore and even though this is a topical application both male and female skin in those areas are fairly absorptive and thin. I honestly can't see it saving significantly more lives than what condoms and diaphrams do already.

And what's the point of it 'disappearing' anyway. One of the few good things about condoms (on a practical level I mean) is that it holds in the 'mess'...

edit on 8/12/2012 by 1littlewolf because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 8 2012 @ 02:42 AM
reply to post by ShotGunRum

Okay that really freaks me out. I feel squicky just thinking about it. No way is that crap going inside me. No guy that offers that option is gonna get anything. I don't need anything decomposing or shooting drugs into my body...

edit on 12/8/12 by Ameilia because: grammer

posted on Dec, 21 2012 @ 04:35 AM
reply to post by ShotGunRum

edit on 21-12-2012 by goou111 because: (no reason given)

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