Updated 01 July 2015

Colour-changing condom can detect if you have an STI

Smart condoms could soon glow different colours when detecting sexually transmitted infections.


Three teenage boys have come up with a concept that will allow condoms to glow a different colour in the presence of an STI, which is spread during any sexual activity be it intercourse, anal sex or oral sex.

Muaz Nawaz, Daanyaal Ali and Chirag Shah, aged between 13 and 14, scooped the health innovation prize at the 2015 TeenTech Awards, which are intended to promote science, engineering, and technology in schools.

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Their invention, called the S.T.EYE, is laden with molecules that will cause the contraception to fluoresce in low light, reported The Independent.

It may glow green for chlamydia, yellow for herpes, purple for the human papillomavirus and blue for syphilis, according to the Daily Mail UK.

Ali told the news wesbite that he hoped the condom would help bring about an awareness of STIs and also encourage people to seek treatment.

Read: What is the intimate condom?

"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," he said.

Image: Muaz Nawaz, Daanyaal Ali and Chirag Shah.

However, smart condoms are not on the shelves yet. It is "very much a concept and... not a finalised design," a spokesperson for TeenTech told the Daily Dot.

Read: The STI most men get without knowing it

The trio from London's Isaac Newton Academy will travel to Buckingham Palace, where they'll receive a cash prize of £1 000.

Here are some facts you need to know about STIs:

An STI can also occur using fingers, other body parts, or sex toys that have come in contact with another person's genitals or body fluids. STI's often don’t have any noticeable signs or symptoms and people often get an STI without even knowing it. 

Gonorrhoea - This is the most common STI seen at South African clinics, with between 36% and 68% of people presenting with it. It does not necessarily cause symptoms at first. Gonorrhoea may present with a vaginal discharge.

Chlamydia - This is most often a silent infection and it also doesn't necessarily cause symptoms at first.

Both Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia can lead to long-term problems in women, such as severe pain, difficulty falling pregnant, and complications during pregnancy.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – HIV is a lifelong condition that affects the body’s immune system, which fights infection. The last stage of HIV is called Aids. Being infected with other STIs makes it easier to get HIV.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV doesn’t usually cause symptoms at first, but it can lead to cervical cancer in women, and genital warts in men and women.

Herpes – Infection with herpes can cause blisters and open sores in the genital area.

Trichomonas or “trich – This can cause genital itching and discharge.

Hepatitis B – This can lead to long-term liver problems.

Syphilis – This STI can occur at different stages over many years and can affect any part of the body. It can be defined in three stages:

Primary syphilis can present with a painless ulcer on the genitals (chancre) a few weeks after acquiring the infection and can go unnoticed.

Secondary syphilis occurs a few months later and here one can get skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes/glands.

Tertiary syphilis can occur three to 15 years after the initial infection. At this stage you may develop tumours on the skin, bone or liver. And you may also develop neurosyphilis, where the brain and nerves are affected and can result in dementia or general weakness, loss of balance and shooting pains in legs.

Watch the highlights from the innovative Teen Tech Awards 2015

Also read:

Viagra linked to higher STI rates

The STI most men get without knowing it

Apps for gay and bi men tied to STI risk




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