The problem with condoms is that men are more than aware of their value, but they don’t always use them. It becomes an argument of wisdom vs. pleasure and in the heat of a passionate moment, “just this once” can become a repetitive rallying cry. But not wearing a condom removes the 99% effective weapon against the spread of HIV. So Shengxi Chen designed a skin-like condom.
CHEN: “With condoms, for many, many years nobody changed them.”
A biochemist at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute and researcher at the Biodesign Institute’s Center for BioEnergetics, Chen found himself inspired. He rose to the Grand Challenge presented by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ultimately receiving a $100,000 grant to create a material that mimics human skin.
CHEN: “I thought, if we make something really close to skin, people would not mind using condoms. Human skin has a lot of water; we call it hydrophilic. Most condoms are hydrophobic, but this material likes water.”
To bring this wonderful deal to the world, Chen will be starting up Joys LLC, so it’ll be more action than theory.
CHEN: “We are trying to put it to the market because I think that it is truly interesting. It’s better than the other condoms, and we don’t want this to just stay in the lab.”
I hope everyone’s writing this man a personal thank-you card.