New Contraceptive Could Prevent HIV, STDs When Used With Microbicide, Manufacturer Says
A new female contraceptive device called FemCap, which could protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases if used in conjunction with a microbicide, is now on the market, according to its manufacturer, Reuters/Yahoo! News reports. FemCap is made from silicone rubber, which its developers said is less irritating than similar latex contraceptives, and can be worn inside the vagina for up to 48 hours, double the time recommended for similar birth control devices. A single FemCap can be reused for two years, costs approximately $2 per month and comes in three sizes. The device, which works to prevent pregnancy by completely covering the cervix to stop sperm from reaching the uterus, is also equipped with a delivery system for microbicides and spermicides. According to Reuters/Yahoo!News, several firms are currently developing microbicides that could be used with FemCap to protect against STDs. "The FemCap has the potential to protect against sexually transmitted disease and HIV only when used with a microbicide," Dr. Deborah Anderson, associate professor at Harvard University Medical School, said, adding that the cervix is the main entry point into a woman's body for HIV (Reuters/Yahoo!News, 4/23). Dr. Alfred Shihata of the Scripps Memorial Hospital in Chula Vista, Calif., developed FemCap, which was tested in clinical trials using funds from the United States Agency for International Development (Scripps Memorial Hospital release, 4/23) The FDA approved FemCap at the end of last month (FDA Web site, 4/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.