Types of Condoms for Future
A lady who is transparent in her thoughts declares “My husband’s penis is of a certain size that makes sex painful even after 13 years,” she explains her predicament. To set it right —which wasn’t solved even by generous application of KY Jelly, a lubricant which is meant to ease intercourse—they began to use the “Comfort Fit Condom” of a leading brand .
It appeared that the condom is the couple’s preferred method of contraception So, if a Super Thin Condom that is made of a material that is stronger and sturdier than steel, almost unbreakable, and which conducts heat as well as copper comes in the market, the couple wouldn’t care, unless it is fits them right “It’s one of those things that don’t need to be fixed, because it cannot be broken,” she admits with a shrug . “Condoms stood at a mere 5% penetration according to the National Family Health Survey 3 done in 2005-06″
A gentleman in Thiruvananthapuram, who was awarded $100,000 (around Rs.61 lakh) by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in November to make the next-generation condom, would like to hear. Raghupathy, an E3-grade scientist at HLL Lifecare Ltd—India’s largest contraceptive makers—was one of 11 selected from 812 applicants because he suggested the use of graphene, the material used in pencils. It was considered to be highly jagged in its free form till Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, two scientists from The University of Manchester, UK, separated two-dimensional wafers of graphene in 2004. The duo won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their efforts. It is considered to be the strongest material in the world, besides being a good conductor of heat.
According to Raghupathy, whose interest in graphene grew while he was working at the University of Manchester (before he returned to India in 2012) this material could just be the next big thing. His view is shared along with a team from the university’s National Graphene Institute is also among the 11 selected by the Gates Foundation. Led by Aravind Vijayaraghavan, it suggested using graphene to create a composite material for condoms. Raghupathy tested the elasticity of a sample at the HLL factory Other ideas included a condom that can be wrapped around the male organ (proposed by the California Family Health Council), condoms with applicators that allow putting them on in one stroke , and stop the smearing of ejaculatory fluid to prevent unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (produced by South Africa-based Kimbranox Ltd), and a mucous condom that will be made with a new polymeric material that looks alike the mucosal tissue to enhance sensation.
“All condoms today are made of elastomers, or elastic polymers, whereas what we propose is a new material that is a composite, a mixture of elastomers and graphene,” says Vijayaraghavan in an email interview .Similarly Raghupathy’s method involves incorporating graphene into latex. “This will allow us to reduce condom thickness as well as increase heat exchange between partners,” he says. The first prototype was ready last month, but there is a long way to go before its operation is proven, says Raghupathy. If he proves, within one-and-a-half years, that the concept has merit, he can apply for phase 2 funding, in which the foundation will offer an additional $1 million over two years to take the prototype to market.
The ‘Do the REX’ Durex commercial with actor Ranveer Singh that caught the attention recently In India, the government distributes condoms widely through its National AIDS Control Organization (Naco), a programme that comes under the Union ministry of health and family welfare. Last week, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, together with HLL Lifecare Ltd, launched a vending machine that sells condoms, among other products like water and chips. The first one was installed on 30 April at New Delhi’s Central Secretariat station, and they plan to cover 21 stations in two weeks. In an attempt increase sales, the government also capped the price of male condoms at Rs.6.56 a piece from December. It even defended its decision to include condoms in the drug price control order, effectively listing them as medicines, in court. .
The world over condoms are seen as pleasure-killers, although they are easily the most omnipresent form of STD and HIV/AIDS prevention. Not only do condoms result in loss of sensation during intercourse, but also potentially, in loss of erection while donning them. The novel methods for delivery, promotion or educational counselling are needed to solve a problem of low condom usage.
This becomes significant in our country, where it’s estimated that only half the married women use contraceptive methods; three-fourths of them undergo sterilization, clearly the most preferred method In the next seven years, the medium age in India will be 29, making it the youngest country in the world, according to a study conducted by the Mumbai-based IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN-Habitat. . It is not surprising that condom companies are increasingly targeting youth as their primary market.
Although global leader Durex only has a 4% market share of India’s Rs.78 crore industry, Nitish Kapoor, general manager of Reckitt Benckiser India, which manufactures Durex, points out that their marketing strategy is focused towards making sex pleasurable and safe sex among Indian youth, especially among first-time condom users such as “teenagers exploring their sexuality for the first time”. “We hope to engage the youth in a discussion around the subject of sexual well-being and safe sex in India,” says Kapoor. Durex India recently launched a music video featuring Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh on video sharing site YouTube. Its new website, launched in February, is a ready reckoner for first time condom users .To address the problem of someone walking in while one is viewing the site, there is a helpful tab called “Hide Page!” which changes the page to one with pictures of dogs and cats. “ .
Last year, KamaSutra condoms manufactured by JK Ansell, tied up with music channel MTV to sell Hardwear condoms that came in two variants — Big Head and Bi-Coloured. Their advertising campaign was gown to earth.. Sexual screamers like “Screw it Tight”, “Socket, Baby” and “Bang On”, were used to mark the brand’s shift from its earlier appearance as an accessory for passion, evidenced by the 1991 advertisement featuring Pooja Bedi and Marc Robinson in a clammy shower. There are number of condom types in India—dotted, ribbed, fruit flavors, ultra-thin, vegan, scented, even a few that blush in the dark .
The Pune couple’s story shows that not everyone would rush to try out something “new”. There are companies who are clearly thinking about sexual pleasure and focus on consumer behavior and there is innovation in condom development, (but) it is currently limited in my opinion,” says Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director, Discovery and Transitional Sciences at the Gates Foundation. While the foundation is keen to address this—it will issue another call for innovations in condom design this month—it is necessary to make men want to wear condoms, feels Ragupathy, not because they have to, but because it will augment their experience. This very idea was touted by an Indian scientist in the early 1990s.
Alla Venkata Krishna Reddy, a Stanley Medical College, Chennai, graduate, was conducting research on HIV when he realized that the best way to prevent the disease from spreading is to make men wear condoms . Reddy, who is well into his 70s now and leads a retired life in New Jersey, US, designed a condom which had a dab of latex on the inside that would rub against the male organ. Called Pleasure Plus, the condom took the American market by storm in the early 1990s, but later got entangled in a patent war. Following this, he designed another asymmetrical condom shaped like a nautilus shell in 1999, which lasted for a few years in the market.
Since then, design innovations have been few and far between. For the year 2013 the prestigious German IF Gold Award went to Wingman Condoms, for their innovative product design. Wingman condoms are made with “wings” that aids in easy wearing and prevent condom damage. In history its the first time that a condom company has won this prestigious award. It’s the start of a innovative movement.