HIV / AIDS is a global killer and affects many lives worldwide every year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were approximately 36.9 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2014. Of these, 2.6 million were children. HIV usually spreads through unprotected sex with an already infected person, sharing needles and blood transfusions.
Currently, the only way to prevent an infection is to take protective measures like using condoms while having sex, using disposable needles and screening of blood for infections before transfusion.
An Indian-American professor has created a condom that puts the safe back into sex with a new supercondom that fights HIV and prevent other STD’s and unwanted pregnancies.
Dr Mahua Choudhury has made the condom from an elastic polymer called hydrogel; the condom is mixed with a plant-based antioxidant ingredient that has anti-HIV properties, as reported by Digital Trends.
“We are not only making a novel material for condoms to prevent the HIV infection, but we are also aiming to eradicate this infection if possible,” said lead researcher Mahua Choudhury, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in the US.
“Supercondom could help fight against HIV infection and may as well prevent unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases and if we succeed, it will revolutionize the HIV prevention initiative,” Choudhury, who studied molecular biology, biophysics and genetics in India before getting her PhD in the US, noted.
Mahua Choudhury was one of the 54 people who were awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Grand Challenge in Global Health” grant.
This year’s initiative asked winning recipients to create an affordable, latex-free condom to help battle the HIV epidemic, which is currently affecting 35 million people in the world.
“If you can make it really affordable, and really appealing, it could be a life-saving thing,” Choudhury said.
The hydrogel in Choudhury’s condom is designed with an embedded plant-based antioxidant that is released when the condom’s walls are broken, Digital Trends reported.
This antioxidant has proven anti-HIV properties, and can stop the virus from replicating.
The antioxidant laced in the hydrogel also boasts stimulant properties that enhance physiological stimulation and feelings of pleasure during sex, the report noted.
With inputs from IANS