We could see STD-killing condoms soon

As I’m sure you know, condoms don’t only prevent pregnancy and give you the edge when an impromptu water balloon fight breaks out, they also protect against sexually transmitted diseases. But you might not be aware that they’re about to get a lot better at it, thanks to an Australian biotech firm called Starpharma.

They’ve developed an antimicrobial lubricant called VivaGel that is 99.9% effective in killing off viruses, including HIV, herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. Aussie condom company Ansell will make condoms coated with the gel and should start manufacturing them in the next few months after getting the go-ahead from the relevant regulatory authorities.

The condoms are also about to hit the shelves in Japan, made by Opkamoto Industries, and VivaGel is currently undergoing clinical trials in the US – not only for its STD-killing abilities but for its potential as a treatment for bacterial vaginosis, a condition that causes an imbalance in the amount of bacteria in the vagina.

There’s no word on when they might go on sale in the UK, but it’s surely just a matter of time before they’re approved here, too. And that can only be a good thing, considering the number of STDs is on the rise (and not just among teens and twenty-somethings as you might expect, but in the 45-64 year-old age group, meaning it might be time to have the safer sex chat with your parents).

But Dr Jackie Fairley, chief executive of Starpharma, warns that no-one should be complacent about the possibility of catching an STD or becoming pregnant, as no condom is 100% effective at preventing either.

[From PSFK via Inhabitat]

Image via Robert Elyov’s Flickr.

Diane Shipley

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