If you are sexually active, odds are you use condoms anytime you are having sex with a new partner, are involved in a not-yet-monogamous relationship or are determined to prevent pregnancy for the time being. While the benefits of condom use are priceless – cheap birth control and the only sure-fire way to prevent the contraction/spread of sexually transmitted diseases – condoms aren’t anyone’s best friend.

Now, researchers are working to create condom-free birth control methods that also prevent the contraction of common STDs, including HIV and herpes.

Hand holding condom

Image courtesy of TeddyBear at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How Would You Like to Ditch Condoms For Good, While Still Remaining STD- and Kid-Free?

Let’s face it, sex without condoms just feels better – but it is absolutely unacceptable if you are having sex with new partners, multiple partners or with a partner who is not yet treating your relationship as a monogamous one. Even a new monogamous relationship should rely on the protection of condoms until both partners have been tested at least two or three times over a three to six month interval for STDs, including HIV. While virtually everyone knows this information logically, it doesn’t mean they abide by it, which is why various organizations are teaming up to create better alternatives.

Consider that:

  • After half a century of birth control research and widespread contraceptive use, combined with two decades-worth of STD education and prevention, more than 50% of the world’s pregnancies are still considered unplanned.
  • Every day, approximately 1,000,000 people are infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
  • Every minute, a young woman is infected with HIV and that infection can be spread to her potential unborn child.

For these reasons, contraceptive researchers, communicable disease experts and women’s health organizations are teaming up to find better solutions, some of which include condomless contraception and STD prevention.

These technologies are referred to as Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs). They work to prevent pregnancy and STDs at the same time. Examples of MPTs include rings or one-size-fits-most diaphragms that can be inserted up into the vagina, similar to a NuvaRing or a traditional diaphragm. Once inserted and set in place, these options secrete precisely calculated doses of birth control hormones and virus- and bacteria-resistant medications. Together, these chemicals keep sperm from being viable and kill STD-causing bacteria or viruses on contact, preventing them from being able to get into your system.

Other MPT methods being developed include the use of gels, films or injectables that work similarly to kill sperm and harmful STD-causing microbes. Researchers have worked closely with women around the globe seeking feedback and opinions to create products that women will want to use. The idea is that through continual testing and research, MPT product lines will be comprehensive enough to appeal to a large spectrum of the female population so every woman will have the option of choosing a method that is comfortable for her and makes the most sense for her lifestyle.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a main funder of the MPT and HIV prevention research niche, has found that 98% of women across the African continent say they would prefer the use of an extended release MPT product over the single-use options available via condoms or other contraceptive products, and these findings have been backed up by additional research surveys. The use of MPTs could have an unprecedented long-term affect in the health and well-being of women, children and families, which affects the health of our planet at large.

What do you think about MPT’s and their potential? We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in our comment box below.

Are you concerned about your own sexual health? Are you looking for a new method of contraception? Contact Overlake OB/GYN and meet with compassionate women’s healthcare providers who will arm you with the most current information about birth control and STD prevention available.