Science Daily reported on this advance in modern biotechnology in December of 2006, stating the 'molecular condom' would take a minimum of five years of testing and another ten before it would be readily available, but this week the news has changed. According to several sources (Globe and Mail, Macleans, About.com's Guide to Sexuality) this medical marvel might be available to the public in the next three to five years after human trials have been conducted.
How does this condomless protection work? Researchers from the University of Utah have developed the chameleon-like gel. When it comes into contact with semen, the gel turns into a more solid formation that encapsulates the AIDS virus completely. Created to assist women in African countries where AIDS is at an all time high, the gel would cost approximately 0.10 cents a dosage to manufacture, as compared to male condoms (0.o3 cents) and female condoms (0.60 cents). Several of the reports also stated that the gel may be used to reduce pregnancy or the risks associated with other STDs, but the researchers hadn't tested it for those purposes yet.
This gel has received a lot of press these past few days, some of which I found incredibly distasteful - the worst being the Globe and Mail's first line in their coverage of the story:
"Women who are fed up with their partners not wearing condoms during sex may soon have a new tool to protect themselves against HIV infection."
Either way, I'm eager to hear how this research pans out (although I'd hate to be a human tester - how could it be tested without exposing oneself to the AIDS virus?), and how it'll change the face of dating and relationships as we know them today.