Teen Boys Come Up With STI-Detecting Condoms That Change Color
Newsflash: Teenage boys think about sex a lot! But one group of boys in the UK has put their daydreaming to good use and designed a condom that changes color when it comes into contact with a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
The science behind the condoms, called S.T.Eye’s (get it?), is that the latex is coated with several layers of antibodies, a different type for each STI. When the condom comes into contact with an infectious bacteria on either party, the antibodies react and change color. Each STI will be represented by a different color to tell people exactly what they or their partner may have. (Find out How to Talk To Him About Your STI Status.)
Oh, and did we mention that the three inventors of this genius sexual health product are all too young to even have their driver’s licenses? Muaz Nawaz, 13, Daanyaal Ali, 14, and Chirag Shah, 14, who are all students at the Isaac Newton Academy in East London, presented the idea at the TeenTech Awards this week—and they won! The boys not only took home first prize in the Future of Health category, but also scored £1,000 ($1,568) and got a personal invite to Buckingham Palace. (Psst: Check out these high-tech pieces of Fitness Equipment That Looks Like Science Fiction.)
Nawaz, Ali, and Shah came up with the idea after learning what a huge problem STIs are worldwide and how reluctant people are to talk about whether or not they have one, they told CNN. While the trio acknowledged that color-changing condoms won’t likely stop people in the heat of passion, they think it will encourage condom use overall and therefore help protect against infections. Plus, knowledge is power, and knowing whether or not you have been exposed to something might encourage people to have those difficult conversations with their doctors and be more truthful with partners.
Currently the condom is just a prototype, but one major manufacturer reportedly approached the boys with an interest in developing it for production, adding that the technology does exist to make this genius idea a reality. In the meantime, you’ll have to stick to regular ol’ condoms. (These may not change colors, but you can still Have Better Sex with One of These 5 Condoms.)