In a preliminary study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, researchers at the University of Washington found that a tampon made of dissolving fibers could deliver topical drugs that prevent women from contracting the disease.
The fibers with maraviroc - a drug currently use to help treat HIV infections - dissolve within six minutes of contact with moisture, releasing a high dose of the medication.
"We envision a product that could dissolve, pretty much instantaneously, into a gel and then spread around the vagina during sex," Cameron Ball, the lead author on the paper, told The Huffington Post.
"We want something that dissolves quickly so that people can say, 'Hey, I wasn't planning on it, but I'm going to have sex in five minutes so I need to use this product, and I want it to be completely dissolved before that,'" he added.
Ball said other studies would need to be undertaken and it would take years before women could buy a similar product at their local supermarket.