Condoms – love ‘em or hate ‘em, we’re all aware that they’re an essential aspect in staying staying baby- and infection-free. But it’s almost impossible to truly know whether the person you’re sleeping with is really sans sexually transmitted infections unless you get tested together and read each other’s results. And you might actually want to do that: according to the CDC, nearly 20 million new STIs occur every year in the United States! In addition to this, roughly 24,000 women become infertile each year due to undiagnosed STDs.
These are troubling statistics, but three tweens from London’s Isaac Newton Academy are striving to change this with a colorful idea.
At the Teen Tech Awards, a program that encourages students between the ages 11 to 18 to use their imagination towards creating solutions forscientific and technological issues, Daanyaal Ali, 14, Muaz Nawaz, 13 and Chirag Shah, 14, decided to take STI detection to the next level with their cleverly named invention, S. T. Eye, landing them the top prize in the health category.
The idea: a condom that detects STIs and then glows. The designers explained that S.T. Eye would have a variety of colors coinciding with each infection it comes into contact with. For example, if someone has chlamydia it would glow green, yellow for herpes, purple indicating human papillomavirus (HPV), and blue representing syphilis.
The condom would contain a layer of molecules, which would bond to bacteria and viruses that compose common STIs. This in turn would cause a chemical reaction, producing a luminous glow in dim lighting — kind of like a glowstick.
‘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,” Daanyaal Ali explained to the UK’s Daily Mail.
Although the S.T. Eye are strictly conceptual at this point, we’re eager to see how quickly it bursts from a glowing idea to a beaming reality. Until then, make sure you’re getting tested every six months (depending on how sexually active you are) and use protection. Have trouble fitting in a doctor’s appointment? No worries for those of you in California: Planned Parenthood has the perfect solution and you won’t even need to leave your house!