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Re-Thinking Old Fashioned Condom Design

Written by admin on April 30, 2013

81267305Over the last 50 years, there has been tremendous advancement in the field of birth control — not just socially, but technologically as well. Pill options have expanded to include lower-dose, acne-fighting, PMS-busting hormone combinations. The IUD, once a poster child of a faulty medical device, is experiencing a resurgence and is hailed as a safe and effective option. There are the patch and the ring for those who don’t want to take a pill every day, and even a shot for those who are more afraid of babies than they are of needles.

But what about the condom? You can get them in all different colors and even flavors. Love bacon? This one might be for you. Besides dressing them up in different styles, however, there has been very little advancement in condom technology — you know, those developments that would make people more likely to use them. This is a problem, according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is offering a $100,000 grant to innovators through Grand Challenges in Global Health to design a better condom. We quite agree.

condomsWhy Condom R&D Deserves Some Love

Why are condoms so special? If we can prevent pregnancy in a whole assortment of newfangled ways, why should we invest in better condoms?

Because condoms protect against more than just pregnancy. For those who have sexual relationships outside of monogamous relationships, in which both partners have been confirmed STI-free, condoms are irreplaceable. They protect against HIV and other STIs, meaning you don’t have to rely on the word of the other person that he or she is clean. Your partner might even think they are clean, but taking their word is not only trusting their honesty, but the honesty of all their previous partners.

An added bonus to condoms is the added birth control insurance.

Sure, But What’s Wrong with Today’s Condoms?

There are a host of reasons why people choose not to use condoms, even though they are familiar with all of the above. They mostly center around inconvenience and decreased sensation. People with latex allergies also must be cautious about which condoms they use, as the majority are made from latex (although there are latex-free options).

The New Kid in Town

Origami Condoms, a company based in Marina del Rey, Calif., is working on new designs for both male and female condoms that address all of the issues above. The proposed design is based on the ancient Japanese art of paper folding and is packaged in an easy-to-don, accordion-like configuration. Just pop it out of the package and slide it on; no unrolling necessary. The result is more of a loose-fitting sheath that goes with the flow of natural movement and preserves sensation for both partners. And last but not least, Origami Condoms’ new design ditches latex for silicone, which is less prone to tearing during vigorous movement.

Don’t get too excited just yet though. It will likely be 2015 before they are available for purchase. Until then, don’t let the common — and often unfounded — excuses keep you from using condoms.

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How effective is your birth control?

For sexually active women, he effectiveness of birth control depends on how perfectly they use it. For this reason, there are two kinds of effectiveness rates. One measurement is for perfect use, as the method is tested in the lab or used in real life with no mistakes.

The other is typical use, the average including people who don’t always use the method correctly or every time sexual intercourse takes place.

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