University of Washington researchers have developed a dissolvable fabric that could offer birth control while also preventing one or more STDs. The electrically spun cloth with nanometer-sized fibers offers cheap, discrete and reversible protection. It can physically block sperm or release chemical contraceptives and antivirals.
One type of fabric they made dissolves within minutes, which could offer users immediate and discrete protection against unwanted pregnancy and STDs. Another dissolves over a few days, and could provide contraception like the birth-control pill and also guard against HIV. The electrospun cloth could be inserted directly in the body or be used as a coating on vaginal rings or other products. Kim Woodrow, assistant professor of bioengineering, said:
Our dream is to create a product women can use to protect themselves from HIV infection and unintended pregnancy. 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.