Our psychophysiological equipment comes into close contact with many of our study participants. Therefore, for the sake of hygiene and safety, it is absolutely essential that we properly sterilize it after each use. All of our research assistants who are trained in the use of our equipment are also trained in our sterilization procedure.
After the vaginal and penile plethysmographs have been used, they are thoroughly washed in antibiotic soap and warm water. Next, they are disinfected using CidexPlus (Johnson & Johnson Medical), according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. CidexPlus is a 3.4% glutaraldehyde liquid solution that has been designated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration as a “high level disinfectant” appropriate for the disinfection of reusable medical devices that cannot be subjected to heat sterilization. CidexPlus is known to be effective against infectious agents such as the tuberculosis bacterium, herpes simplex virus (Type 1 and 2), and HIV.
The final step in preparing the equipment for its next use is to rinse it thoroughly with warm water to remove all disinfectant, dry the equipment, and seal it in a plastic bag. Our graduate students and research assistants wear latex gloves during participant testing and during the cleaning procedure in order to maintain a high level of sanitation.
We keep a log for each use to record which experimenter sterilized the device and exactly how long the device soaked in the disinfectant solution. This helps us keep track of our sterilization procedures and ensure that our equipment is safe to use at any given time.