Detecting STIs: Teens believe a color-changing condom is the answer

Posted at 3:27 PM, Jun 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-24 17:27:20-04

Sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) — it’s a sensitive topic that many people find difficult to discuss, but a group of teenage boys think they may have found an eye catching solution.

The so-called “S.T.EYE” condom is a conceptual design that changes color when it comes into contact with an STI such as chlamydia or syphilis.

The idea is the brainchild of Muaz Nawaz, 13, Daanyaal Ali, 14, and Chirag Shah, 14, who attend the Isaac Newton Academy in east London. Ali said in a statement: “We created the S.T.EYE as a new way for STI detection to help the future of the next generation.

“We wanted to make something that made detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before, so that people can take immediate action in the privacy of their own homes without the often-scary procedures at the doctors.

“We’ve made sure we’re able to give peace of mind to users and let people act even more responsibly than ever before.”

Once in contact with an STI, a chemical reaction on the pores of the condom is meant to cause it to change color, according to a press release. And the exact shade depends on the STI as reaction times vary. The condom can also have an intermediate layer that includes reactants to test for syphilis, epididymis, and genital warts.

According to the WHO, more than 1 million people acquire a sexually transmitted infection every day. And the National Health Service in the UK claims that chlamydia is the most common STI that is easily passed on during sex.

The idea won an award in the Future of Health category at the TeenTech Awards, which encourages teenagers to explore science, engineering and technology. The boys won £1,000 ($1,568) and have been invited to Buckingham Palace along with the other category winners by the Awards’ patron, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

The condoms are still at the concept stage but according to the Awards, they have been approached by a manufacturer that believes it can make their idea a reality.

Some people took to Twitter to offer praise…

As well as pose questions…

Other winning proposals included an e-water tap for Africa, which was also programmed by the young designers, sunglasses to monitor epilepsy and a guitar with never-ending strings.