Gates + Reddit: Condom Talk

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The Gates Foundation is calling for a new generation of condoms that will be more pleasurable to use and therefore more likely to prevent the spread of HIV.
Image: Jules Antonio / Flickr CC

Besides talking about his favorite hobby of Bridge, Bill Gates’ discussed the Gates Foundation’s call for the “Next Generation of Condom” at his second Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on 2/10.  “The idea was that men don’t like the current design so perhaps something they would be more open to would allow for less HIV transmission,” he wrote on Reddit. A final decision has not been made, but Gates revealed that “one grantee is using carbon nanotubes to reduce the [condom’s] thickness.”

Earlier this month The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a press release with a fresh round of topics for its Grand Challenge Explorations initiative, which included the call for the “Next Generation of Condom”.  “Is it possible to develop a product without this stigma, or better, one that is felt to enhance pleasure? If so, would such a product lead to substantial benefits for global health, both in terms of reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and in prevention of infection with HIV or other STIs?” reads the challenge’s description.

With the recent reorganization of Microsoft in the news, questions also turned to Gates’ new role at Microsoft, the multi-billion dollar company he co-founded 39 years ago. When asked about Microsoft’s recently installed CEO Satya Nadella he said he was thrilled and mentioned Nadella asked him “to pitch in to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovation”. Gates will work to split his time as chairman of the board of directors at Microsoft (one-third) and the Gates Foundation (two-thirds). When asked how to balance business and philanthropy the executive’s answer was simple: just create an innovative company.

Challenge description: http://www.grandchallenges.org/Explorations/Topics/Pages/NextGenerationCondomRound11.aspx

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