Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a discreet condom that does double duty for women’s reproductive health subtly — it prevents pregnancy and protects against sexually transmitted diseases by dissolving inside of the body and releasing preventative drugs after use. Who can argue with that?
These contraceptives made from a nanofabric born through a process called electrospinning, or creating fibres from liquid inside of an electric field. It’s apparently easy to control variables like strength, solubility, and shape with the resulting material, so antiretrovirals can be added to the condom. It could be slappped onto existing contraceptives or directly inserted into the body, like a vaginal ring. And it’s the first of its kind.
Condoms that can protect females from STDs and pregnancy at the same time exist in the form of the female condom and nonoxynol-9, but the first is not at all discreet and the second isn’t safe to disintegrate inside lady parts. These can do so cheaply and inconspicuously. And anything that makes your sex life a little better is a good thing. [UW via PopSci]
Image: Kim Woodrow/University of Washington