It’s not every day that you hear the words “tampon” and “technology” in the same sentence, but here it goes… This “tampon technology” could change the world by preventing HIV!
A team of scientists at the University of Washington have created a tampon that can be inserted immediately before sex, quickly dissolves within minutes of insertion, and administers a dose of an anti-HIV microbicide that can prevent contracting HIV. The drug is electrically spun into the tampon fabric and delivers the HIV preventive agent directly into the walls of the vagina upon insertion.
Globally, this addresses a need for simple preventative measures that work in high-risk contexts. This drug delivery option is easy to use since its similar to a standard tampon – something with which most women are already familiar. It’s more accurate, and therefore more effective, than topical drugs and it works faster than pills.
Cameron Ball, a doctoral student in bioengineering at the University of Washington, and Kim Woodrow, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at UW, are the lead inventors of the HIV-fighting tampon.
What makes this method of drug delivery unique is that “women don’t have to apply it far in advance of having sex,” said Cameron Ball in an NPR interview. “There’s a race between the anti-HIV microbicide to get to the tissue before the virus does. So the more quickly it dissolves, the better.”
The technology may take up to 10 years for wide-scale use and approval. However, the possibilities of stopping the deadly virus through a simple and effective solution is inspiring. We almost guarantee that you may never look at a tampon quite the same again.
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