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A new contraceptive device may also offer protection from sexual transmission of HIV, according to researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College. The results were published in the journal AIDS.
The device's effectiveness has only been demonstrated in the laboratory so far. It is a vaginal ring that releases multiple types of microbicides which would prevent conception as well as sexual transmission of HIV.
"This device is a new approach to birth control, because it avoids the long-term use of hormonal methods that have been associated with increased risk of certain cancers," says Dr. Brij Saxena, lead author and professor of endocrinology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "At the same time, this is the first device to simultaneously offer the possibility to prevent unintended pregnancy and HIV transmission."
The device was tested with a mix of antiviral drugs that are designed to prevent HIV transmission, but could conceivably also be made to protect against other STDs.
Worldwide, there are about 5 million new infections and 3 million deaths per year due to HIV/AIDS. The number of new infections in the U.S is about 56,000 a year.
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