Three students, ages 13-14 years old, of Newton Academy in London invent color-changing condoms to warn of STDs. Their proposal won them the top prize in the UK 's TeenTech Awards in 2015.
The concept sounds creative and could be a game-changer in STDs detection, but as of today it is still a concept and with the current technology, it's a scientifically implausible one.
How would it work?
Daanyaal explained, "Once the bodily fluids come into contact with the latex, if the person does have some sort of STI, it will cause a reaction through antibodies and antigens hanging on to each other, which triggers an antibody reaction causing a color change."
ELISA has been used for decades especially in HIV and herpes testing. It uses enzymes that change color when a certain antibody and a third chemical are added.
The boys also added that the color changing would work on both sides of the condom, detecting several different STDs. This is where it gets complicated because STDs have different ways of testing for them. Furthermore, their testing methods usually rely on blood rather than vaginal fluid or semen.
In a Forbes article,Dr. Maureen Baldwin, an assistant professor of OB/GYN at Oregon Health & Science University has some doubts about this concept. “We are nowhere near the technology to put something like this on a condom and have the condom still work for birth control, but I applaud these adolescents for thinking outside the box and for promoting testing for STIs,” Baldwin said. “I think we should consider novel ideas like these seriously and try to work toward them.”
Almost four years on since the British boys came out with this brilliant concept and still the world is waiting for the color-changing STD-detecting condoms and the cure for AIDS, obviously. In the meantime, if you're sexually active and have multiple partners, get yourself tested regularly at an STD center near you or buy a rapid test kit online.