Male Birth Control that can also kill HIV?
More often than not, the responsibility of preventing pregnancy falls on female-bodied individuals – birth control pills, the patch, IUDs, insertive condoms, etc. But what about guys who want to take responsibility too? Or women for whom a lot of the standard options don’t work?
Enter a new option: for years, researchers in India have been looking at a technique called RISUGTM (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance). Basically, a doctor injects a gel into the vas deferens, which are the tubes that the sperm flows through on the way to ejaculation. The gel hardens as it coats the walls of the tubes, and tears apart the sperm as they pass by so that they can’t cause pregnancy. It’s a non-surgical procedure that can last for twenty or more years, and is easily reversible by injecting a solution that dissolves the gel. Within a few months of reversal, fertility should return to normal.
But it doesn’t stop there – now researchers are talking about ways to make the gel also prevent
ideas about how it would work – like inactivating HIV in spermor having the gel release drugs that would kill the HIV downstream (because some components of semen don’t pass through the vas deferens – they come from the seminal vesicles, prostate and bulbourethral glands).
Of course, it’s still in trials so we won’t be seeing it on the market any time soon, but if it works this could be huge! Not only would it be another option for preventing pregnancy, but it would also provide a new way for serodiscordant couples to prevent transmission of HIV to the negative partner.
What do you think? Would you try it? Would you trust your partner if they said they’d had it done?