Admittedly, this one is a little over my head. Scientists at the University of Washington published an article detailing their new idea for a female condom that protects against both unwanted pregnancy and HIV. It uses a method called electrospinning which is basically nano-knitting. Its a way of using an electric field to create extremely fine fibers with varying degrees of strength, shape and solubility. Because they are soluble and so versatile these fibers may turn out to be the best delivery method for contraceptive medicines.
So basically they make a really thin condom but its make up is able to both physically stop sperm and release chemicals that can kill sperm and stop the spread of STIs. Now, not everyone is super trigger happy to put a bunch of anti-HIV drugs in their system but presumably people who’s partners are HIV positive are going to love this idea and also it would stand to reason that they wouldn’t all have to have a chemical component if they also create a physical barrier.
The fibers can be made to dissolve quickly to create an immediate barrier or over the course of a few days in a sort of slow release birth control kinda way. If this thing goes into development (and it looks like it will because Bill and Melinda Gates have already thrown a million bucks at it) it’s impossible to know if people will actually use it. The major up side is that this is a contraceptive that protects against STIs that is in the hands of women and, as I’ve said in the past, this is something that women should take advantage of.
New advances in the field of sexual health are always interesting but not necessarily worth holding your breath for. There are ways that are available right now to take control of your sexual health, not the least of wich is educating yourself and communicating with your partners. So until the nano-bots are swimming through our bloodstream and eating up our disease we should probably get to know what is available to us in the here and now. Future sex will have to wait for the world of tomorrow true believers.