Three British teenagers are on a mission to protect people from STDS. Two 14-year-olds and one 13-year-old—have proposed a concept for a new type of condom that could detect sexually transmitted diseases among intimate partners. The Washington Post explains:
“There would be antibodies on the condom that would interact with the antigens of STDs, causing the condom to change colors depending on the disease…For instance, if the condom were exposed to chlamydia, it might glow green — or yellow for herpes, purple for human papilloma virus and blue for syphilis.”
STDs used to be called venereal diseases or VD. They are among the most common contagious diseases. More than 65 million Americans have an incurable STD.
Each year, 20 million new cases are reported, and around half of these infections are among people ages 15 to 24 and they can have long-term consequences.
STDs are sexually transmitted diseases. This means they are most often — but not exclusively — spread by sexual intercourse. HIV, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, some forms of hepatitis, syphilis, and trichomoniasis are STDs.
Although the concept is still in its early stages, the brilliant idea won the trio the top prize in the U.K.’s TeenTech Awards, and they have already reportedly been approached by condom companies.
The idea – however – maybe a little too ambitious and has its own set of flaws. For instance, it’s unclear whether the STIs would be detected in just the user’s partner or also the user as well.
In addition, there’s the awkward question of what would happen if the condom came into contact with two or more STDs—not to mention the logistical difficulties of figuring out a way to determine the color with sufficient opportunity to make use of those findings.