The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is offering a $100,000 (£65,000) investment for an inventor who is able to create the “Next Generation Condom”. The foundation is looking for a design “that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use.”

Condoms are an incredible invention with a long history. Widely available, inexpensive, easy to manufacture and distribute; properly used condoms reliably protect against unwanted pregnancies and STIs. 15 billion units a year are produced globally and there are an estimated 750 million regular users. However, despite the benefits condoms provide, The Foundation has decided to tackle the major drawback associated with the condom.

Condoms are perceived by many men as devices that decrease their sexual pleasure, which causes some to forego the protection and thus risk contracting STIs, such as HIV. The Foundation asks:

“Is it possible to develop a product without this stigma, or better, one that is felt to enhance pleasure? If so, would such a product lead to substantial benefits for global health, both in terms of reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and in the prevention of infection with HIV or other STIs?”

Do you have an innovative design?

If you think you have an innovative design, apply now. Some entries so far have been bizarre, such as the terrifying “condom applicator slingshot gun”, to designs such as “origami condoms” which have won praise from The Foundation.

If you have had unprotected sex, get tested

If you have ever chosen not to use a condom during sexual intercourse, especially with a new or casual partner, do not let the decision harm the rest of your life. Better2Know can help you to get tested for a wide range of STIs. Remember, any mild discomfort a condom brings now will be nothing compared to the possible adverse consequences of an untreated STI later.

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