When used properly, condoms are a very effective and low cost method of preventing unwanted pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Although the condom is such a popular and convenient choice of contraceptive, researchers continue to look for ways of making sex even safer and making condom use feel more natural.
Dr Mahua Chowdhury, Assistant Professor at the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy at the Texas A&M Health Science Centre has developed a ground-breaking new male condom. Currently, condoms are made from latex which can cause allergic reactions and some may argue reduces sexual pleasure. Chowdhury’s new design uses a water-based gel, similar to the gel used in contact lenses.
What makes this new condom idea especially interesting is that Chowdhury plans to combine the gel with a plant-based antioxidant which has been found to have properties that work against HIV infection. If the new condom were to break during intercourse then the idea is that the antioxidant would be released and would prevent the virus from replicating.
Not only does the new design claim to help in the battle against HIV and AIDS, but these antioxidants may also heighten sexual pleasure making the condom even more appealing as a choice for couples. It is believed that the antioxidants, known as flavonoids, can help to increase blood flow and contribute to a maintained male erection. Chowdhury’s aim was to not only to create a condom that would help to reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS but one that would be pleasurable for people to use. “If you can make it really affordable, and really appealing, it could be a life-saving thing” said Chowdhury.
The new water-based condom is not yet ready for the high street as it is still in development but hopefully during 2016 tests will be complete and the product much closer to being available to buy. Condoms remain the most effective way to look after your sexual health, but a condom that people enjoy while at the same time increasing protection against HIV is certain to be a popular choice.