Teens Have Idea for a Condom That Can Detect an STD
August 10, 2015
We have all heard of flavored condoms, scented condoms and condoms in different colors, but what about glowing condoms? And better yet, a glowing condom that can detect a sexually transmitted disease (STD)? Two teen boys from Isaac Newton Academy in London presented this concept at the 2015 TeenTech Awards. Their idea for an STD-detecting condom, cleverly named S.T.EYE, would be designed with a layer of molecules that stick to commonly known STD bacteria or viruses and glow a fluorescent color accordingly. They suggest that the condom would glow in colors such as green for chlamydia, purple for HPV, blue for syphilis and yellow for herpes. It’s important to remember that, as cool as this idea is, it has yet to be invented.
Although this concept is novel, it is unknown whether this condom would be able to tell if both partners have an STD or just the one wearing it, if there could be a similar female condom design, how much they would cost and if it could even be produced. Another concern is whether more than one STD could be detected simultaneously.
When I first read about this idea I was in awe of its simplicity and creativity. A condom that takes out the often dreaded step of going to a clinic to get tested for STDs seemed too good to be true, and after some further research I’m starting to believe it is. The seeming convenience of S.T.EYE could actually potentially cause more problems. Contracting an STD can happen to anyone and getting tested frequently and openly discussing sexual histories with a partner is important. I have to wonder though: does this condom do that or could an invention like this just end up making people feel embarrassed? Getting a positive test result while in a pretty intimate and vulnerable situation with a partner might just lead to feelings of shame. I’m excited about kids my age thinking about ways to reduce the spread of STDs, but I think in the meantime it is equally important to encourage all sexually active couples to maintain open communication and get STD tests together—before the condoms even come into play.