U.K’s Teen Tech Awards recently granted top honors to a group of three teenagers for their groundbreaking STD-detecting condoms. The teens, Daanyaal Ali (14), Muaz Nawaz (13), and Chirag Shah (14), named their concept S.T. Eye. These three students from the Isaac Newton Academy in England have initiated the development of condoms which change color when in contact with a sexually transmitted disease. Of course, it would take teens, whose ingenuities have not yet been tainted by the cynical world, to imagine such a brilliant idea. The concept involves creating a condom that is coated in antibodies which will react with the antigens in STDs resulting in a colour change.
Ali explained his team’s motivation behind this innovative design in an interview with The Daily Mail:
“We wanted to create something that makes detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before, so that people can take immediate action in the privacy of their own homes without the invasive procedures at the doctors,” he said. “We’ve made sure we’re able to give peace of mind to users and make sure people can be even more responsible than ever before.”
While the concept is certainly an effective idea towards impacting on the rising global STD rate, there remains many areas of concern. Firstly, an issue of whether the condom will detect an STD in the user or his partner has not been resolved as yet.
Secondly, the concern over the social impact of such a creation when put into practice needs to be addressed. Thirdly, a manual for post-color change may indeed be necessary or the whole expedition may be pointless. Finally, the effect of multiple STD’s on the condom has not yet been established. Clearly, this idea still requires much development before these condoms will be accessed by the greater public.
Maggie Philbin from Teen Tech reiterated this in a comment to The Post:
“I think the reason the judges put this idea first was because the project showed how much learning these boys had done while researching STD’s.”
Nonetheless, this intriguing concept won the students about $1,500 as well as a coveted opportunity to meet Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace later this year. But, perhaps the greatest victory may be for global society since the students have already been approached by condom manufacturers and this outrageous idea is beginning to seem viable.
In a society where condom use is not the favored method of contraception and its inherent disease prevention benefit is often overlooked, this innovative idea may provide the incentive needed to encourage safer sex, globally. The immediate queries and concerns about the nitty-gritty of the condoms functionality greatly outweigh its far-reaching, long-term benefits.