Tampon to Protect Women from HIV

It has been determined that one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is to wear a condom during sex.

But it is not that simple. For many women around the world, getting a man to use condom before sex is almost an impossible task. But there may be a way out for these women. Such women can now find solace in tampons that deliver anti-HIV medication. If it works, it could put prevention into the hands of women and save millions of lives. It is a tampon-like device that combines maraviroc, a drug used to treat HIV infections, with fine, electrically spun fibres.

A woman could insert it minutes before having intercourse. When it makes contact with moisture, the fibres dissolve, releasing a high dosage of the drug into the woman’s vagina and hopefully guarding against an infected sex partner.

Researchers at the University of Washington, United States, introduced the new HIV preventing device, which is still in clinical trials, in a study published in the journal, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Cameron Ball, lead researcher, said: “We envision a product that could dissolve, pretty much instantaneously, into a gel and then spread around the vagina during sex.”

In addition to preventing the spread of HIV, the tampons have the potential of preventing other sexually transmitted diseases and possibly even pregnancy.

“Now, that’s the good news. The bad news is that we are at least 10 years away from seeing these devices on store shelves. Half of all people living with HIV around the world are women. And we are twice as likely to contract HIV from men as the reverse. Keep in mind, not every woman in the world is in a relationship with a partner who is faithful and drug-free. Not all sex between married couples is consensual. It’s important that we help more women protect themselves,” Ball said.

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