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Safer Sex Without Pills or Condoms?

Safer Sex Without Pills or Condoms?

A new implantable device may change your life. 

Earlier this year the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation teamed up with Intarcia Therapeutics to invest $140 million in a yearly pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent the transmission of HIV. Intarcia is at a critical phase in developing the new technology, which could reach far beyond HIV prevention. The company hopes to expand the treatment to other diseases, like autoimmune disorders and type 2 diabetes -- the latter usage is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Speaking at Fortune's Brainstorm Health conference, Intarcia CEO Kurt Graves argued that administering medicine via pills and injections works for short-term illnesses, but those with chronic conditions often forget or tire of taking their medication, so an implant could be the perfect solution. The Intarcia device is essentially a pump, slowly dispensing a person's medicine inside their body each day for a full year. By making a 4-millimeter incision (that's less than a quarter of an inch) in a person's torso, a medical professional would slip the implant beneath the skin. After demonstrating the mini-surgery at Brainstorm Health, Graves said it would be a painless procedure.

Graves also revealed that Intarcia's chemists have created the technology to maintain a medication's effectiveness in an implanted device for over three years. In the future, users might only need to get a medication refill every few years and still have full-time HIV prevention. Safer sex without the condoms or more pills? Yes, please.

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David Artavia