A diaphragm renaissance?

One of the most embarrassing Sex and the City scenes was the one in which Carrie enlists Samantha’s help to remove her diaphragm. Not because the situation seemed a little intimate, even for two close friends, but because it revealed that Carrie’s chosen birth control method was the diaphragm. I mean, how retro was that? Despite conversations about ticking biological clocks and complaints about twentysomething women, the characters had always seemed pretty young to me. Until this talk of a retro method of contraception that doesn’t even prevent most STDs.
Or could it? Last week at TAP Online, Beth Schwartzapfel wrote about how the diaphragm is being re-designed using more flexible materials so that one-size-fits-all. This might make it a more convenient option for women who can’t or don’t want to use hormonal birth control. But perhaps more promisingly, it could help curb HIV infection rates in Africa:
Because the cervix is much more susceptible to HIV infection than the vagina, cervical barrier methods like the diaphragm could be of great help. Beth writes,

Not only could it offer American women yet another contraceptive option, but it could prove a powerful tool in reducing HIV infection rates both at home and abroad. In a large-scale clinical trial that’s the first of its kind, researchers are currently testing the impact that diaphragm use has on HIV infection rates in Africa — where methods of protection that women can initiate without requiring their partners’ consent are badly needed.

That’s enough for me to consider the diaphragm on its way back to cool again.

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