A female condom which can protect against pregnancy and STDs has been developed, but that’s not all it does: the new female condom disloves during intercourse, increasing stimulation for both parties.
Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) developed the female condom from tiny microfibers through a method called “electrospinning.”
The cloth-like fibers can be woven from medicine into extremely thin “webs,” and are designed to dissolve after use, either within minutes or over several days.
The condom would block conception, as well as releasing a mix of anti-HIV drugs over time.
The team was given $1 million to develop the technology, which uses an electric field to charge fluid through air to create the very fine, nanometer-sized fibers.
“Our dream is to create a product women can use to protect themselves from HIV infection and unintended pregnancy,” said Kim Woodrow, a UW assistant professor of bioengineering.
“We have the drugs to do that. It’s really about delivering them in a way that makes them more potent, and allows a woman to want to use it.”
Woodrow presented the idea, and co-authors Emily Krogstad and Cameron Ball, both first-year graduate students, agreed to pursue the project, at a meeting held last year.
“This method allows controlled release of multiple compounds,” said Ball.
“We were able to tune the fibers to have different release properties.”
Skeptics say the dissolving of the chemicals seems intrusive, while others don’t think using the female condom is a feasible option.
Regardless, the more options people have for safer sex, the better.