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March 06, 2017

Can New Condom Ring Detect STIs?

THE VALLEY—According to an article in the New York Post, online manufacturer/retailer British Condoms is about to offer a condom ring that does more than simply help men keep their erections: It may also help protect them from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Despite being advertised as "i.Con, the World's First Smart Condom," purchasers of the i.Con will need to buy the latex part themselves: "i.Con is not an actual condom; it’s a ring that will sit over a condom at the base, which you can use over and over again," the company's website explains. But what a ring! Fitted with a rechargeable nano-chip and sensors, the i.Con will reportedly be able to "catalog numerous variables during sex—including penis girth, the 'average velocity' and total number of thrusts per session. It will also log other info pertaining to one’s health, such as calories burned and average skin temperature." The gadget should work for 6 to 8 hours after charging through its micro-USB port. Like some recent vibrators, the i.Con will download its recorded data to a smartphone or computer through the i.Con app, at which point "users will have the option to share their recent data with friends, or, indeed the world," the website suggests, while promising that all data will be kept confidential unless the user specifies otherwise. "You will be able to anonymously access stats that you can compare with i.Con users worldwide," the site adds. Even better, according to an article on Mashable.com, "The developers behind the i.Con claim it doubles up as an STI indicator, but this additional status is in the final stages of medical testing and is yet to be confirmed ... the device has an 'antibodies filter,' which sends an alert to the smartphone when it detects proteins or antigens found in STIs." (That particular claim isn't on the company's website, however.) The i.Con isn't ready for sale yet, though the company expects development to be finished sometime this year, at which point it will be available on the company website. Those wishing to be informed of the release date can sign up on the website. Its projected cost is £59.99 (about $74). In other contraception news, condom manufacturer Trojan is about to score a television first: Its new XOXO condom line will be the first ever to be allowed to be advertised on broadcast TV. The ad, which has been described as "relatively tame for condoms," will debut in April, and will be aimed at women, since they buy one of every three condoms sold. "XOXO condoms come in a travel pack discreet enough to look like a travel compact, and apparently to get past network standards monitors," an article on AdAge.com assured. Condom ads have long been a staple on cable, with Trojan having purchased more than $15 million in ad time on such cable networks as Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" late-night programming block. Finally, in an announcement that's likely to drive condom advocates bonkers, researchers are developing an injectable male contraceptive that, according to an article on the ZME Science website, "works by blocking the vas deferens ... It forms a flexible, spongy, hydrogel material which allows fluids to pass but holds back sperm cells like a net." The material, called Vasalgel, has been successfully tested on male rhesus monkeys, 16 of which were "housed for a full breeding season with three to nine fertile females. This was done in a free-living environment to ensure a free, unrestricted interaction between the sexes. Seven of the males were housed with the females for up to two years. During this time, none of the group’s couplings resulted in pregnancy. The monkeys didn’t show any complications or adverse reactions to the treatment." And the best part? Vasalgel is easily reversible by a doctor flushing the seminal canal with a safe solvent. The company that developed Vasalgel, the nonprofit Parsemus Foundation, is now preparing to conduct human trials. "This is not just another early-stage lead; we’re so close on this one," said Parsemus executive director Elaine Lissner last year. "It’s time to finish the job we’ve started." Hooray! Sex can be fun again!

 
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