The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting 11 condom designs with grants of $100,000 each to improve user experience, according to a foundation statement. The grants are funded through its Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, which supports innovative ideas to tackle key global health and development problems.
Designs were selected based on their potential to increase condom use by improving sexual sensation and other user aspects. They include an air-infused female condom that could be faster and easier to insert, as well as a male condom made from hydrogels, a latex alternative, that could be more satisfying and deliver built-in lubrication.
Condoms are more than 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, but only when used consistently and correctly. About half of men who have sex with men regularly use condoms and about 30 percent of men who have sex with women use condoms regularly.