Culture, Future Tech, Science

Could This Male Contraceptive Pill Make A Vas Deferens In The Fight Against HIV?

 

First of all, I won’t apologize for the pun in the title. Secondly, it seems my first male contraceptive article stirred up a lot of controversy about the hypothetical anti-HIV properties of RISUG (shared from a journal named, appropriately, Medical Hypotheses). After speaking with the makers of the U.S. version, they mentioned that although this hypothesis might be a stretch, they’re currently encouraging production of a different male contraceptive that could potentially reduce or eliminate transmission of all semen-borne STDs (including HIV) precisely because of the way it works. Just in case you missed that, they did indeed say all semen-borne STDs.

Say hello to the “clean sheets” pill — another non-hormonal option for male birth control that’s on the horizon in the UK, albeit at a much earlier stage of development than RISUG/Vasalgel. To cut right to the chase, it’s affectionately dubbed the “clean sheets” pill due to the fact that it inhibits release of any semen whatsoever by relaxing the longitudinal muscles of the Wolffian duct system while still permitting the circular muscles to contract, resulting in a sphincter action of the circular muscles on the lax longitudinal ones so they clamp down on the tubes carrying sperm and semen. Because all fluids are stopped before emission, that means they remain where they are (no retrograde ejaculation into the bladder, etc) and are recycled by the body as naturally as in total abstinence.

Basically, you get all of the feel-good with none of the mess.

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No mess means no babies. But the bigger “mess” that’s stopped is transmission of HIV. To quote Elaine Lissner, the Director of Medical Research Programs at the Parsemus Foundation, “To contraceptive funders, this seems like just another male pill lead in a crowded field, but for HIV transmission prevention, there’s nothing like it.”

The other good news? There are potentially several different ways this product can be delivered. It’s currently being posited by its two inventors, Drs. Nnaemeka Amobi and Christopher Smith, that a pill taken two to three hours before intercourse would have the effects dissipate within 16-24 hours, not unlike the timing of the ever-popular Viagra. Or the doctors suggest that men could have round-the-clock protection with a small time-release rod implanted just under the skin like Implanon (but without the hormonal drama).

What’s the bad news? Funding. Right now, with only $300,000 to go, the project is literally a Kickstarter away from the next step in the process. But it’s been sitting that way for over six years now. For a lot of drugs, this is fairly normal because of how uncertain things can be at this stage in the process. But according to Dr. Amobi, he and his colleagues have already “modified the prototypes and expect greater than 95 percent efficacy” at the start of the next round of testing and “total inhibition of semen (100 percent) by the end” of that, given that both of the parent compounds are proven to provide the “dry” effect 100 percent of the time. Then, the FDA approval process could begin with clinical studies on animals and then humans.

Right now, this little pill is stopped dead in its tracks. The money each year for contraceptive research is limited and most of it goes to female contraceptives. When the economy took a dive recently, the Gates Foundation had their contraceptive development funding literally cut in half and unfortunately, it was male methods that got the boot. Parsemus Foundation has its hands full developing Vasalgel, and USAID would take on this venture if its budget wasn’t being slashed. Beyond that, a surprising percentage of people seem to think that condoms, IUDs, and hormonal birth control will be good enough for all of us forever (shudder). I’m personally horrified that with the current number of prospects, not a single method of male contraception has been supported to market past our current two options: condoms or having a vasectomy.

Think about that for a moment.

If you’ll forgive me for this sentence, I think the silver lining here could be HIV. Because as Lissner puts it, “the yearly funding for HIV prevention absolutely dwarfs the funding for contraceptives.” If HIV prevention groups can get adamant about this pill’s strong possibility of limiting or preventing HIV transmission from men, this research could finally gain some much-needed traction.

But you know who else can help? You. Right now. If you donate a buck or two right here, this pill WILL move forward to the next crucial step for the first time in over 6 years. It’s that simple. If you don’t, please share this page, sign this petition, and get the word out to people you love. And remember this last quote from Lissner:

“It’s not impossible to get a great drug to market, it just takes putting your mind and your money into it.”




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Jon Clinkenbeard

About Jon Clinkenbeard

In addition to being Techcitement's Gaming Editor, Jon Clinkenbeard is also an actor and comedian living in New York. He's the founder of Chew York and Dark Little Stories, and he's co-author of The Pirate Treasure of the Himalayas. Jon regularly performs improvised theater around town and you've probably seen him on that show you watch.

  • Phil Landsberg

    A geek friendly website offering advice on safe sex is still operating under tge assumption that the reader is having said sex.

    Nut still a great informative article. As always.

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  • Sarah S.

    Interesting that this story hasn’t gone as viral yet as the one about the other method. What’s that about? Are people more interested in a long-term method than a quick-acting one? There’s definitely something appealing about a set-it-and-forget-it. Or does HIV seem remote to the average straight person at this point, now that it’s not necessarily a death sentence in countries like the U.S. where people can get antiretrovirals? AIDS is somebody else’s (or some other country’s) problem? Or was the other story just funnier? What’s up with that? I, for one, am going to donate. Seems like a good thing to crowdsource– if people still actually care about HIV. Opinions?

    • Anonalex

      It won’t stop HIV, in fact, if it encourages people to stop using condoms, it will probably increase it.  If you want to donate towards preventing the spread of HIV, you should give your money to a sex-ed program, or HIV research instead of the latest quack exaggerating his or her claims to get funding.

      • Jamaica

        Learn to read. do more research. Men deserve the RIGHT to contraception similar to women’s. Basically.

        • sensorsweep

          anonalex isn’t saying men don’t have a right to contraception.
          A..x is expressing concerns about people misunderstanding the limits of the drug.
          and bringing up sex-ed programs is essential.. especially if there are new drugs and offered to people that didn’t learn about basic human sexuality in school because.. y’know… “kids have sex only when the learn about its existence in school”.

  • Rilsreserker

    Wait, if you shut the hose off…doesn’t pressure build up on the other side? Whose to say that you’re not damaging yourself by closing off the pipes?

    • Sirensaturn

       It’s like being without sex or masturbation all together… Your body always produces semen but if it is not “used” in a timely fashion it is broken down and recycled by your body…

      • Robertdtesta

         Hoooooold on a second… I’m no expert, but isn’t semen an extremely healthy substance for men and women? So if it is broken down in our bodies and recycled, it should have even greater benefits no? Also, most men would agree that orgasm after a long period of time without orgasm is much more explosive. So, this could potentially make sex/masturbation much more pleasant and should shorten the recovery time between “rounds” no?
        I’m excited about the potential of this.

        • Angela

          Actually I heard semen contains some carcinogens, making it more healthy to ejaculate often than not at all.

          • Cynic

            Did the Daily Mail tell you that?

  • Gbedlam

    I have been waiting my entire life to hear someone make a vas diferens pun.  thank you so fucking much. <3

  • Sirensaturn

    I have a question though… It prevents ejaculation but does it also prevent the release of “natural lubricant”? To be fully effective against passing viral load, wouldn’t any and all bodily fluids released during intercourse need to be stopped?

    • sensorsweep

      “semen” isn’t the same thing as “sperm”..
      (i actually had to double check, haha. i think they’re often used interchangeably, adding to the confusion).

      so semen, is made up of seminal fluids and the sperm that swim in it.

      so calling it the “clean sheets” pill makes a lot of sense.

      so i’m assuming that when you orgasm, there’s absolutely nothing. and i’m assuming no wet dreams either. and “pre-cum” and anything else that comes out of the urethra except urine.

      as for “natural lubricants”.. the foreskin (if you have one) kinda self-lubricates so it can slide.. but that shouldn’t be affected as that comes through the skin.

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  • Anonalex

    For some reason my previous comment disappeared, so here it is again: THIS WILL NOT PREVENT THE SPREAD OF HIV.  In fact, if it encourages people to stop using condoms it will probably add to the problem.

    • http://blog.mattalgren.com/ Matt Algren

      Anonalex, your earlier comment was in reply to another, so it appears after that one rather than at the top of the list.

    • Doogski

      I don’t see where it specifically says that it definitely does prevent HIV at this point in its development, simply that it may in the future, given the right funding and testing. At that point, if it’s encouraging those who do take the medication to not use condoms, then there should be no significant increase in the transmission of semen-borne STDs or STIs. However, there would be concern about those that are not strictly semen-borne, as they could still be passed between partners regardless of medication if there is no condom.
      Although, it’s important to realize that even condoms don’t fully prevent transmission. I can fully understand and support skepticism, as it’s necessary everywhere to prevent falling headfirst into a snakepit, but my skepticism is outweighed support for something that could move us beyond archaic contraceptive methods like mini penile trash bags and cervical twigs. I’m not saying we shouldn’t proceed with caution, simply that we shouldn’t let that caution keep us from progress.

      • sensorsweep

        well put.

        i agree with anonalex’s skepticism in how uniformed use of a new “wonderdrug” with today’s inadequate sexual education could be a big problem. (consider the sandra fluke/rush limbaugh shit show and how intentionally ignorant public figures are on how female reproduction works).

        but you’re right.. we’ve got to be able to move past “penile trash bags and cervical twigs”.. i’m more interested in the RISUG injection myself, but all options!

    • http://twitter.com/samellens Sam Ellens

      Even if it doesn’t prevent it the theory is that it’ll reduce transmission. Some people are too stubborn to wear condoms – this will at least mitigate the risk somewhat for those that choose to take the chance. Better than nothing.

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  • http://www.psychopolitik.com longbongsilver

    You still…arrive…right?

    • Doogski

      Same contractions and twitches, no spurt.

      • Jamaica

        did you take it?

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  • http://generaldepravity.blogspot.com/ dragline

    So wait, this pill takes away a man’s ability to cum? You’d have to be borderline retarded to think this stands a remote chance at success. 

    • http://blog.mattalgren.com/ Matt Algren

      No, it does not. take away a man’s ability to cum.

      • http://generaldepravity.blogspot.com/ dragline

        “Because all fluids are stopped before emission, that means they remain
        where they are (no retrograde ejaculation into the bladder, etc) and are
        recycled by the body as naturally as in total abstinence.”

        It prevents the release of semen, not sperm, as stated in another part of the article. The ability to provide a money shot is the only advantage to being a man. It’s the reason we put up with war, brother. This will never, ever work.

        • http://blog.mattalgren.com/ Matt Algren

          The difference here is that there would be no mess to clean up. I count that as a win.

          • http://generaldepravity.blogspot.com/ dragline

             A valid point, but come on, no marking territory = no dice.

          • Jamaica

            Every guy I’ve ever been with (white educated men) like the idea and are waiting. what’s up with your not reading it. There is output… just no sperm in it.

          • http://generaldepravity.blogspot.com/ dragline

            You must be thinking of RISUG. It’s called “clean sheets” pill for a reason, and the article explains that.

          • Blaze

            The article indicated that you still get to orgasm, you just don’t need to have all the mess associated with it. Basically, this will increase your chances of a blowjob as the spit or swallow question is negated.

          • sensorsweep

            no output, no sperm, no seminal fluid..
            just air*.

            *probably not air either.

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  • shanique

    OK it may prevent transmission on one side of the street but what about contracting the disease from the other side. Its been over 20 years its time to eradicate this virus. Vaccines now

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  • Jess

    This doesn’t sound as effective as RISUG. Sounds like it’d have build up, where as RISUG allows semen to pass through but tears apart the polyelectrolytes.

  • Colpack

    I wonder if this hurts. It sounds good otherwise.

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  • Ham

    Great, informative article, but painfully terrible pun.

  • rydog

    I like the mess though

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