Biodegradable Condoms

Biodegradable Condoms

7 July, 2014
Eco-conscious Safe Sex
Coming Soon: Making Environmentally-Friendly Love
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Self-lubricating condoms? That’s something to write home about.
 
Thin yet durable AND potentially biodegradable, the new hydrogel condoms developed by a research team at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, could be the answer to pesky latex allergies and the eternal waste created when people throw used latex condoms away.
 
 
The research team was awarded a $100,000 USD grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation after the Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health Exploration topic “Develop the Next Generation of Condom” was announced in March 2013.  
 
Made from material similar to that of some existing contact lenses, hydrogels are biocompatible (non-toxic) and have the potential, with more development, to be biodegradable as well.
 
 
This advance in male prophylactics can’t be overstated enough.  One of the main reasons men are deterred from wearing condoms is the diminished sensation, a problem this project can remedy.
 
But, foreseeable “kinks” in the creation of such condoms include researching the hydrogel’s ability to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies while maintaining the skin-like feel superior to existing latex condoms. Production cost is also another factor that, for now, limits the feasibility of hydrogel condoms, though the answer to that quandary may well lie in 3D printing them.
 
Though the reality of these condoms is still a little ways off, in the meantime, consider your continued practice with latex condoms a prolonged dress rehearsal for the more ecologically conscious safe sex of the future.

By: Alex Jacobs
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