Monday, July 1, 2013

Gates Foundation working on improving condoms

The NY Times recently published an article titled Getting Men to Want to Use Condoms summarizing the status of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recent project called a Grand Challenge. They are interested in developing “a next-generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure.”

This is an important project for public health!

The goal is to address two significant problems: unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. Condoms cheaply and effectively prevent both, but around the world only 5 percent of men wear them and there are 2.5 million new H.I.V. infections a year. To stem that tide, health experts say, the number of men regularly using condoms needs to double.
“Decreased sexual pleasure is typically the predominant reason for not using them,” said Stephen Ward, a program officer for the Gates Foundation. “Can we actually make them more desirable? That’s what we’re shooting for.”

Currently many public health buyers select condoms based on the look of the foils, not the condoms themselves. This project clearly validates it is not the foil, it is the feel of the condom that will keep people using condoms.

We suggest following the lead of consumers. Thin /sensitive, and textured /stimulating condoms are the majority of the the market. Select your condoms from proven brands and try including more of these types of condoms into your programs.