December 1st was World Aids Day, which has promoted awareness about the disease since 1988. It was also Giving Tuesday, and I’m glad this unfortunate alignment won’t happen again for a few years, aren’t you?
Even though there have been great strides in treatment and prevention, AIDS is still a global problem. One of the simplest means of preventing transmission of the disease has always been: the condom.
Thus far, condoms have come in two choices: latex or non-latex. Glossed with titillating names like Trojan, Fantasy, and Bravo, this barrier protection still encounters barriers to consistent use, e.g. inflated promises.
Finally there is a breakthrough within grasp.
Virginia Goodyear, PhD, assistant professor at Shield U., is working on a new design. I tried to reach her for an exclusive interview for The Nudge Wink Report, but she wouldn’t return my calls. Apparently the journalism reputation for this blog is not as epidemic as I was led to believe when hired on as a reporter.
Tenacious and motivated by a deadline, I contacted a lesser-known contributor to the research, Dr. Willie O’Tool. He was available for a FaceTime interview, and we had a stimulating conversation.
Me: How did Dr. Goodyear get her start-up funds to do this research?
Dr. O: Believe it or not, the seed money came from a Baptist church. They had a fund for ‘Preservation of the Organ.’ When the church adopted a praise band and turned the pipe organ into a coat rack, they didn’t know what to do with the money. Being socially responsible, they followed the suggestion of one of their influential members, and donated it to condom research.
Me: What is different about this condom design?
Dr. O: It is hydrogel, infused with antioxidants from a group of phytonutrients known as polyphenols, which are highly bioactive.
Me: Er…um, Dr. O, most of our readers are English majors without a bent for science. This is a bit over their heads. Could you bring it down to second grade level?
Dr. O: She’s making them out of fruit.
Me: Wow! That’s revolutionary. How did she come up with that idea?
Dr. O: As you know, sex educators use the banana to demonstrate how to properly apply a condom. One day while Dr. Goodyear was out riding her bike and reached a summit, she yelled, “Oh baby, oh baby!” and had an oracle. Could a banana become a condom?
Me: What are the advantages of the new condom creation?
Dr. O: This flavonoid, er, fruit infused condom has anti-AIDS properties, so if the condom breaks, it releases antioxidants that prevent the virus from reproducing.
Me: So if I understand this correctly, when it breaks it turns into millions of tiny banana condoms for all the AIDS viruses trying to do the cellular nasty?
Dr. O: *rolling eyes* I suppose you could say that if you were scientifically illiterate.
Me: I just did, Dr. O.
Me: Are there any other magical qualities to the condom that I’m going to nickname “Banana-fana-fo-fondom?” BFF for short?
Dr. O: *Getting excited* Yes! As a matter of fact, the fruit actually enhances pleasure by relaxing muscles, raising arterial blood flow, and elevating nitric oxide levels, which stimulate and keep up erections.
Me: That’s quite a list of positives, Dr. O. Are you wearing one of these prototypes right now?
Dr. O: *turns cherry red and drops his I-phone*
Sorry our interview ended so abruptly with what I’m calling ’connectus interruptus.”
I still had questions:
- What kind of bicycle was Dr. Goodyear riding, and did it have a banana seat?
- Do they have any names lined up for the new and improved condom? Are they taking suggestions?
- Has Dr. Goodyear had any other oracles?
- Do you need instruction on how to apply this condom, or is it like riding a bicycle?
What are your questions about this up-and-coming disease fighter?