It's not unusual for sexually active women to worry about pregnancy and STIs. But, while there's a bevy of options available for women to prevent pregnancy (oral contraceptives, IUD's, and NuvaRing, to name a few), STIs can get a tad more complicated. Recent scientific developments, though, may put the power completely in a woman's hands (no more finicky condom problems).
Bioengineers at the University of Washington are developing another option, the nitty gritty details of which are published in a new study in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. This new alternative comes in the form of a tampon—sort of. Rather, it's a tampon-like device that contains maraviroc, a drug that helps treat HIV, but also may be able to prevent the infection from developing in the first place. Essentially, you insert the device, it turns into a gel, and during intercourse it spreads, preventing a potential HIV infection. To do this, the bioengineers combined maraviroc with silky fibers which dissolve when they are touched by moisture.
Cameron Ball, doctoral student at the University of Washington and lead author of the paper on the topic, says that they were looking for an easy way for women to protect themselves at a moment's notice. "We want something that dissolves quickly so that people can say, 'Hey, I wasn't planning on it, but I'm going to have sex in five minutes so I need to use this product, and I want it to be completely dissolved before that,'" Ball told The Huffington Post.
HIV isn't the only thing researchers are looking to prevent using the fibers—others could include herpes prevention or contraceptives. But don't get too excited about this revolutionary technology—development is still in very early stages, meaning that if all goes well, we won't be able to see the product on shelves for another 10+ years due to the necessary approvals, clinical trials, and research. An improvement well worth waiting for.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
I'm an Associate Editor at the Business of Fashion, where I edit and write stories about the fashion and beauty industries. Previously, I was the brand editor at Adweek, where I was the lead editor for Adweek's brand and retail coverage. Before my switch to business journalism, I was a writer/reporter at PEOPLE.com, where I wrote news posts, galleries and articles for PEOPLE magazine's website. My work has been published on TheAtlantic.com, ELLE.com, MarieClaire.com, PEOPLE.com, GoodHousekeeping.com and in Every Day with Rachael Ray. It has been syndicated by Cosmopolitan.com, TIME.com, TravelandLeisure.com and GoodHousekeeping.com, among other publications. Previously, I've worked at VOGUE.com, ELLE.com, and MarieClaire.com.
Sofia Richie Grainge's Favorite Foundation is On Sale Right Now at Sephora
There's no better time to try them than now.
By Brooke Knappenberger
Makeup Brush Sets for Creating the Perfect Looks
Options for makeup experts and beginners alike.
By Gabrielle Ulubay
Meg Bellamy of ‘The Crown’ Was Nervous to Recreate Kate Middleton’s Iconic Charity Fashion Show Walk
“I would love her to think fondly of it.”
By Rachel Burchfield
Senator Klobuchar: "Early Detection Saves Lives. It Saved Mine"
Senator and breast cancer survivor Amy Klobuchar is encouraging women not to put off preventative care any longer.
By Senator Amy Klobuchar
How Being a Plus-Size Nude Model Made Me Finally Love My Body
I'm plus size, but after I decided to pose nude for photos, I suddenly felt more body positive.
By Kelly Burch
I'm an Egg Donor. Why Was It So Difficult for Me to Tell People That?
Much like abortion, surrogacy, and IVF, becoming an egg donor was a reproductive choice that felt unfit for society’s standards of womanhood.
By Lauryn Chamberlain
The 20 Best Probiotics to Keep Your Gut in Check
Gut health = wealth.
By Julia Marzovilla
Simone Biles Is Out of the Team Final at the Tokyo Olympics
She withdrew from the event due to a medical issue, according to USA Gymnastics.
By Rachel Epstein
The Truth About Thigh Gaps
We're going to need you to stop right there.
By Kenny Thapoung
3 Women On What It’s Like Living With An “Invisible” Condition
Despite having no outward signs, they can be brutal on the body and the mind. Here’s how each woman deals with having illnesses others often don’t understand.
By Emily Shiffer
The High Price of Living With Chronic Pain
Three women open up about how their conditions impact their bodies—and their wallets.
By Alice Oglethorpe