Scientists have recently developed a vaginal cream that can prevent HIV transmission. When applied, the cream will activate in less than one minute, and it will have lasting protection for up to 3 days.
How does it work?
Well, HIV attaches itself to proteins, and together they travel into the immune cells of an organism. The new vaginal cream is made up of silver nanoparticles that also attach to this protein and block the entry of HIV into the organism.
The cream has been tested in samples of human tissue and has proven its capability of blocking transmission of HIV. Therefore, this new vaginal cream will protect sexual partners from acquiring HIV. Although the cream has been tested for its efficiency, the cream has yet to be tested for plausible side effects.
Lara Villegas, a specialist in nanoparticles from the University of Monterrey, Mexico helped develop the vaginal cream. Villegas is certain that the cream will effectively avoid HIV transmission, but she is not convinced the cream is completely harmless. Research is currently being conducted to further assess possible effects of the silver properties.
In addition to HIV prevention, the cream is also thought to prevent transmission of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) as well. There is no evidence as to whether the cream will prevent other STI’s.
What are the implications for women?
The discovery and invention of this cream has implications far beyond HIV prevention. Up until now, women have not had a way to prevent HIV transmission without the cooperation of a male partner.
Condom use has forever been the primary STI prevention method during sexual activities. Since using condoms for STI prevention involves the cooperation of a male partner, condom usage prompts various insecurity issues for women. Many women lack confidence in negotiating condom use and in condom application skills.
With the development of vaginal cream for HIV prevention, women are empowered to make their own decisions regarding protection during sex.
What do you think?
If the new vaginal cream becomes approved, do you think women will prefer to use it over condoms? Do you think vaginal cream will ever become the primary HIV prevention method? How do you think vaginal cream will impact women empowerment and confidence during sex?