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Co.Exist reported on a challenge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: create a better condom.
Gates Foundation program officer Stephen Ward told the site, “If we could make something better, we could have a really substantial effect on HIV prevention and unintended pregnancy in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”
The idea is that making a more enjoyable condom would encourage more people to use it, which could save and improve lives. Developing countries have less in the way of sex education, and misconceptions and cultural norms keep many people from having safer sex.
Got an idea? Here’s the two-page application. They’re accepting submissions until May 7.
There’s already stiff competition – one pitched idea is a ” very fine electrically spun fabric made of nanometer-sized polymer strands that dissolve to release sperm-blocking and anti-HIV drugs,” and another is a silicone injection-molded condom. The Foundation likes both ideas, but their FAQ indicates they’re willing to fund up to 80 good proposals.