HIV Medication Delivery Via Contraceptive Mesh (Video)


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HIV Medications Delivered by Female Condom

fibers-and-spermThis week on Health Tech Weekly, I take a look at new ways medications are being delivered. Medication delivery devices are coming to a bunch of strange places including the bedroom. Researchers at the University of Washington are using electrospun fabrics to embed medicines into female condoms.

According to the press release from U.W., the only way currently to prevent against both HIV and unwanted pregnancy while having sex is by using a condom. However, for many males, condom use is not always a popular option and they put pressure on their partners to have unprotected sex. By using this new technology in creation of a female condom, the team at the University of Washington hopes to include medications that prevent fertilization and help prevent HIV transmission.

Electrospinning Fiber Weaving

Electrospinning uses an electrically charged fluid jet to lay tiny fibers into a mesh so small that medication molecules become trapped in the fabric created there. The process can be tuned to allow for permeability, solubility and geometry. It is believed that due to this process, medication delivery is more reliable than other methods used today like gels, or pills.

fibersThe team created a stream containing HIV combating anti-retroviral agents while weaving a mesh fine enough that sperm cannot pass through it. While this does not provide the only answer to preventing the spread of HIV during sexual contact, it is one of the steps in the right direction. Researchers hope that by providing multiple options to couples having sex, choices will be made easier to engage in safe sexual activity.

Gates Foundation Funding

The group at University of Washington has recently received a Gates Foundation grant to increase their efforts to come up with a final product and will be purchasing a larger electrospinning machine to make larger sheets of the medicated material and continue testing and development. But this technology could be coming to a drugstore shelf near you soon.

That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at out website,, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at

I’m your host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic. I’ll be back soon with more health technology for you. In the meantime, remember that improving health takes small, simple steps that over time all add up to a healthier you. Why don’t you take a healthier step today?

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