It's a vaginal gel for women in AIDS-afflicted countries, but shouldn't it be for everyone?
In what might be the most miraculous thing to happen to sexually active women since the invention of the pill, University of Utah scientists have developed a new kind of "molecular condom" to protect women in Africa and other impoverished areas from AIDS.
The vaginal gel, which is inserted before sex, turns semisolid in the presence of semen, trapping AIDS virus particles in a microscopic mesh so they can't infect vaginal cells. Birth Control: Should He Pay for Half?
If you're like us, you're probably thinking two things upon learning of this invention:
1) That everyone on the Utah research team deserves a Nobel Prize.
2) Why only Africa and other impoverished areas? Don't the women in America's own dorm rooms, bedrooms and back seats deserve access to the same protection?
Patrick Kiser, an associate professor of engineering who worked on the molecular condom explains to Science Daily: "In resource-poor areas of the world like sub-Sahara Africa and south Asia...in some age groups, as many as 60 percent of women already are infected with HIV. In these places, women often are not empowered to force their partners to wear a condom."
It's hard to argue with Kiser about the urgency of sub-Sahara Africa and south Asia's predicament. Sixty percent says, "this is a serious crisis."
But lest we forget, the AIDS epidemic hasn't exactly gone away in America. According to the CDC, every nine-and-a-half minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV. Based on this statistic, we can't help but surmise that quite a few women on this side of the Atlantic also feel uncomfortable forcing their partners to wear condoms.
We're not saying that our one every nine-and-a-half minutes in any way has it over their sixty percent. This is not a contest, and even if it was, we'd all be losers. But it sure would be great if every woman, regardless of where she lived, had access to another form of protection against AIDS. Hopefully, eventually, we will. For the sake of women AND men. Read: A Cure For HIV-AIDS?