Scientists have designed a new HIV-proof and sexual pleasure enhancing ‘Super Condom’ that will soon hit the market. The hydrogel-based condom will not enhance sexual pleasure, but will also protect from sexually transmitted disease like AIDS and syphilis even after breaking.
Mahua Choudhury and her team at Texas A&M University, US have come up with the non-latex condom made of an elastic polymer called hydrogel, which includes plant-based antioxidants that have anti-HIV properties.
“We are not only making a novel material for condoms to prevent the HIV infection, but we are also aiming to eradicate this infection, if possible,” Choudhury, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, said.
“Supercondom could help fight against HIV infection and may as well prevent unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases and if we succeed, it will revolutionise the HIV prevention initiative,” said Choudhury, the lead researcher.
Choudhury, who studied Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Genetics in India before pursuing her PhD in the US, has been researching diabetes and the obesity epidemic. She was one of 54 people awarded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Grand Challenge in Global Health” grant.
With 35 million people affected in the world, this year’s initiative asked winning recipients to create an affordable, latex-free condom to help battle the HIV epidemic. “If you can make it really affordable, and really appealing, it could be a life-saving thing,” Choudhury said.
The material used in the supercondom already exist as ‘a water-based hydrogel’ for medical purposes such as contact lenses, researchers said.
In addition to protecting against STDs and pregnancy, researchers enmeshed in the hydrogel design the antioxidant quercetin, which can prevent the replication of HIV and if the condom breaks, the quercetin would be released for additional protection. Researchers hope the condom will enjoy a greater use and have a stronger effect at preventing the spread of HIV as the new design is more comfortable and also heightens sexual pleasure.
Researchers are currently waiting for an approval on its patent application, and the same is keeping the product to be unveiled in the market. They are expecting that the tests would complete within next six months. In addition, Choudhary further said that she believes the new condom will eventually be made available to everyone, once it got released. Also, the availability should be vast including rural regions as these type of resources are limited there.
Since its outbreak in 1981, HIV virus has killed 39 million people.