by Rachel Burt, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at Roswell OB/GYN…………………………………
Bill Gates announced a new grant for the invention of the Next Generation Condom. As many of you know, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works to improve global health. One of their main priorities is to reduce the incidence of HIV. Condoms are the best method for preventing the transmission of HIV. However, despite condom availability they are underutilized. Studies suggest several reasons people do not use condoms regularly.
A study published in The Public Health Reports Journal suggests teens do not use condoms for two primary reasons – they perceive potential disapproval from their partner or they anticipate less pleasure. Bill Gates is trying to overcome the perceived or actual decrease in pleasure with condoms by encouraging inventors to redesign the traditional condom. The latex condom has seen very little modification since its invention in the 1920s. Hopefully, the redesign of an old dependable product will increase its usage.
The new condom may only be one part of the puzzle. While some men state they do not use condoms because of lack of sensation, studies have suggested a social component to a person’s decision about condom usage. A study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggests people make decisions about the need for condoms based upon a persons appearance and how well they know them socially. Addressing the mechanics of condoms may only be one step in the direction of increasing condom usage. Programs intended to promote disease awareness and address social stigma to condoms are also necessary.
Hopefully, the winner of the new condom design will also invest in a hip, fun marketing campaign to help make condoms ‘cool’.
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