The future of contraception: Smart condoms to detect STIs

With the aim of creating a safer sexual environment, a group of teenage boys have found a way of detecting Sexually Transmitted Infection’s (STIs) without going to the doctor.

Muaz Nawaz, Daanyaal Ali, and Chirag Shah, all below the age of 15 from London’s Isaac Newton Academy have created a “smart” condom that changes colour when an STI is discovered.  Known as S.T.EYE, the condom prototype includes a layer saturated with molecules that attach to the bacteria and viruses related to the most common STIs. It will, therefore, serve as an indicator which changes colour based on the infection: Yellow for herpes, green for chlamydia, blue for syphilis or purple for human papillomavirus.

Although it has been proven that condoms are not 100 percent safe, if properly used, it lowers the risk of sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. This innovation helps to create an even quicker response, alerting any potential exposure. In many cases, a lot of people do not even know they are infected. This is because sometimes, early in the infection, there may be little or no symptoms, while these could also be mistaken for other illnesses.

“We wanted to make something that make detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before, so that people can take immediate action in the privacy of their own homes without the invasive procedures at the doctor’s,” 14-year-old Ali said. “We’ve made sure we’re able to give peace of mind to users and make sure people can be even more responsible than ever before.”

This may be the breaking of a revolution, the next level for ensuring safety during intercourse. It has earned the boys the top health innovation prize at the Teen Tech Awards, including a cash prize of £1,000 and a trip to Buckingham Palace, the venue for prize collection.

It also illuminates the willingness of young minds to think outside the box, promoting a tech savvy generation. The Teen Tech Awards promote engineering, science and technology in schools, giving teenagers the opportunity to create “technology to make life better, simpler or easier.”

Despite the fact that glowing condoms have become a full blown notion, a spokesman for Teen Tech explained that they’re “very much a concept and…Not a finalized design.”

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