Friday, March 22, 2013

Build a Better Condom and the World Will [Censored] a [Censored] to Your [Censored]

Build a Better Condom and the World Will [Censored] a [Censored] to Your [Censored]:
A Saturday morning cartoon is completely out of the question.Some folks have decided to
approach resistance to using condoms during sex by calling on the
power of the government to
mandate it
. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, though, is
pursuing a different path. The foundation is incentivizing the
development of a better condom with a $100,000 grant.
foundation blog
explains why better condoms are so important to
improving public health:
It may seem obvious, but the success and impact of any public
health tool hinges on that tool being used consistently and
correctly by those who need it.  Vaccines sitting on shelves
don’t prevent disease.  New tuberculosis drug regimens won’t
help if patients stop taking them halfway through the necessary
days.  Likewise, the potential value of condoms is limited by
inconsistent use.
Women, particularly those in high risk groups such as commercial
sex workers, often face difficulties negotiating condom use; the
fact that the term “condom negotiation” even exists and is so
common in discussions about HIV prevention or reproductive health
speaks to the central shortcoming of our current generation of
condoms. The undeniable, and unsurprising, truth is that most men
prefer sex without a condom, while the risks related to HIV
infection and complications of unplanned pregnancy are
disproportionately borne by their partners.
While they note other innovations currently in research to help
prevent disease transmission and unwanted pregnancy, their focus
for this Grand Challenge of Global Health is to specifically focus
on condoms.
You can read the guidelines and what they will or will not
consider (such as banana subsidies for sex-ed classes)
. Long ago, I wondered if condom companies should use the
Starbucks system of sizing their products so that every man was
left with the impression he was larger than usual and thus get an
ego boost every time he bought them. I think, though, condom
companies have already figured that trick out.