Clean Sheets Pill

Contraception with protection from HIV

This quick-acting male contraceptive pill is in the early stages of research, but it’s exciting because of one feature: it could potentially drastically reduce the male-to-partner transmission of HIV. But would men accept the mechanism of action — a semen-free orgasm — even if it feels exactly the same? Many policymakers say men would never go for this, and that there’s no point in bothering with the research. Are they right?

We’ve run a small attitudes study in the U.S. to start answering the question. The result? Among low- and moderate-income young men in the U.S., about 20% say “No way;” about 20% say “Yes, please, when can I get it!” and the rest say “It depends” on knowing more about safety, side effects, etc. That number of men who would consider it may not sound like much, but 20% is a higher percentage of men than use condoms! Another sign that people are interested: A TechCITEMENT article came out about the “clean sheets pill” in March 2012 and was viewed by more than half a million people. We thought it was at least worth giving this research a chance to prove its stuff.

The project has stalled in the past couple of years due to lack of funding for continued research – a common situation for many promising new male contraceptives. We will provide an update on any new developments as soon as they are available.

Want to know more? To read more about the Clean Sheets Pill and how it works, see Male Contraception Initiative. And for more info on the team’s results, here’s the Poster presented at the Future of Contraception Initiative conference in Seattle in October 2011.