STD-detecting condom story "debunked"


"This is pure tabloid bait, combining some of the tabloid's favorite things," writes Peter Yeh. "smart children, sex, and shaming people."

Various outlets reported on the condom, invented by high school kids, which changes color in the presence of STDs. But the story was mostly cooked, Yeh writes, from a grain of truth—the kids had a cool idea and won a prize—into a story about an actual product that cannot in fact exist.

THIS IDEA IS A PIPE-DREAM. The stigma behind having an STI can't be reversed overnight, nor will magic condoms solve the spread of STIs. A better interim solution would be to subsidize mail-in testing. You should be able to order a discrete box shipping to your home, and inside would be a sterile swab with a lidocaine tip, because you'll need to swab your urethra, or do a quick blood prick test, and mail that back to a certified lab. You can actually buy one right now from Amazon.

The thing that's sad about it is that this was clearly a brilliant concept, and its creators are deserving of the prize they won. But instead they ended up as props in a stock story (sex shame exposed) which they may now, unfairly, be held responsible for.