Yes, the idea of a "dissolving tampon" may seem horrifying, but it actually might save lives.
Doctoral student Cameron Ball and bioengineering professor Kim Woodrow from the University of Washington have developed a tampon that can discretely dissolve high doses of HIV fighting microbicides in the vagina in six minutes. The idea is that the tampon can be inserted just before sex to provide a fast, protective dose of the anti-viral medicine—reducing transmission risk by 54 percent.
By "electrospinning" silk fibers, the researchers managed to pack unprecedented amounts of the anti-HIV microbicides in the tampon.
The researchers hope to eventually develop a variant of the tampon that could protect against HIV, herpes and pregnancy all at once.