Stopping STDs with new contraceptive

Scientists have developed a new contraceptive that can also stop sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from being passed on.

The researchers, led by Professor John Aitken from the Australian Academy of Science, discovered that a particular family of compounds can prevent conception by stopping sperm from moving. They were also able to ensure that the STD chlamydia was not transferred and are now planning to test the compound on other STDs.

“Current research is aimed at refining the chemical composition of these contraceptive agents and determining their mechanism of action,” Prof Aitken said.

The contraceptive would be taken by women but would act upon the sperm, he said.

“My idea would be to incorporate it in a soft sponge that can be implanted in the vagina, maybe 48 hours earlier. Then, should intercourse occur, it will become activated,” he said.

Separately, the team discovered that sperm is damaged when spermatozoa are attacked by free radicals. The breakthrough could allow fertility specialists to pick out sperm with the highest net negative charge and smallest size, thereby boosting chances of conception.

Read more at Australian Academy of Science