Sexually transmitted diseases are widespread; thus, methods that detect their presence can decrease their spread. Three teenagers in the United Kingdom have invented a concept for a condom that changes color when it detects an STD or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The condom is called the S.T. EYE; it has a built-in indictor that turns different colors when it detects a strain of bacteria, including chlamydia and syphilis.
On June 23, the S.T. EYE won the best health innovation award at the United Kingdom’s 2015 TeenTech awards in London. The inventors were Daanyaal Ali, 14, Muaz Nawaz, 13, and Chirag Shah, 14, all students from Isaac Newton Academy in Essex, England. The students won approximately $1,500 and a trip to meet Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace later this year. Daanyaal told news.com.au, “We wanted to make 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. 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.”
Do not rush out to purchase the S.T.EYE. At present, it is only a concept. In a statement, TeenTech chief executive Maggie Philbin said, “I think the reason the judges put this idea first was because the project showed how much learning these boys had done while researching STDs.”
Some other 2015 TeenTech awards were an e-water tap for Africa, a flat-pack disaster home, sunglasses to monitor epilepsy, and a guitar with never-ending strings. Ms. Philbin notes that each year, the finalist projects get more and more impressive. Some teams built full working prototypes, others shared exciting new concepts and their industry judges were amazed by the creativity and skills shown by young people across the UK.
UCLA Health System defines safe sex as a monogamous relationship where neither party is infected with an STD. However, many healthcare professionals believe there really is no such thing as “safe” sex. They believe the only way to be truly safe is to abstain because all forms of sexual contact carry some risk. For example, kissing is thought to be a safe activity, but herpes, and other diseases can be contracted this way.
Condoms are commonly thought to protect against STDs. However, while it is true that condoms are useful in preventing certain diseases, such as herpes and gonorrhea, they may not fully protect against other diseases, such as genital warts, syphilis, or HIV.
Guidelines for safer sex:
- Limit your sexual activity to only one partner who is having sex only with you to reduce exposure to disease-causing organisms. Follow these guidelines, which may provide for safer sex:
- Think twice before beginning sexual relations with a new partner. First, discuss past partners, history of STDs, and drug use.
- Use condoms every time you have sex. Choose a male condom made of latex or polyurethane–not natural materials. Choose a female condom made of polyurethane.
- Although studies indicate that nonoxynol-9 spermicide kills HIV in laboratory testing, it has not been determined whether spermicides, used alone or with condoms, provide protection against HIV. However, the CDC recommends that latex condoms, with or without spermicides, should be used to help prevent sexual transmission of HIV.
- For oral sex, help protect your mouth by having your partner use a condom (male or female).
- Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs as this increases the chance that you will participate in high-risk sex.
- Women should not douche after intercourse–it does not protect against STDs, could spread an infection farther into the reproductive tract, and can wash away spermicidal protection.
- Have regular Pap tests, pelvic examinations, and periodic tests for STDs.
- Be aware of your partner’s body. Look for signs of a sore, blister, rash, or discharge.
- Check your body frequently for signs of a sore, blister, rash, or discharge.
- Consider sexual activities other than vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse–techniques that do not involve the exchange of body fluids or contact between mucous membranes.