Self-Lubricating Condoms Could Encourage More Widespread Use
Even though condoms are the only way to prevent both pregnancy and the transmission of many STIs (gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV), not everyone uses them. In fact, a CDC survey released in 2017 found that during 2011–2015, only 14.8% of women and 19.0% of men aged 15–44 reported using a condom “every time” they had intercourse in the past 12 months. Conversely, 59.9% of women and 47.3% of men aged 15–44 during 2011–2015 reported never using a condom during any intercourse in a 12-month period.
Many people cite the fact that condoms can be uncomfortable, which inspired a team of scientists at Boston University to create a chemical compound that sticks to the latex of a condom and holds a thin layer of water. They took this compound and used it a material coating layer for a condom, resulting in a condom that stays dry until it meets fluids (either water or bodily fluids). Once it comes into contact with fluids, the condom becomes slippery and stays that way for 1,000 thrusts. It is the world’s first self-lubricating condom.
Will this easy-to use, self-lubricating condom cause more people to use more condoms? The scientists at Boston University certainly hope so. They were inspired to create their new, revolutionary condom because of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which put out a call for ideas to encourage condom use. The Gates Foundation awarded funding to the lab, headed by Mark Grinstaff, which is planning to begin testing the product on humans in late 2018 or early 2019.