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An Australian Condom Company Is Sending "Anti-Zika" Condoms to the Olympic Village


Everyone's heard the deal with condom use among athletes at the Olympics. After all, what do you expect when you put a bunch of world-class athletes in close proximity? (Rumors even say there were more than 100,000 condoms circulating in Olympic Village during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics).

But this year's Rio games pose an extra issue with the apparent sex-fest that is the Olympic village: the Zika virus.

ICYMI, Zika is getting all sorts of buzz (for good reason!) because of the serious birth defects it can cause. It has even been dubbed a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. That's why some Olympians—even Hope Solo—are going public about their apprehension about attending the games. The virus is transmitted through mosquitoes, blood, and semen—meaning you're at risk if you have sex with a man who is infected, according to the CDC.

That's why Australian pharmaceutical company Starpharma and condom maker Ansell are teaming up to distribute their Dual Protect condoms, dubbed the "world's first antiviral condom," to the Australian Olympic Team. The condoms are lubricated with VivaGel®, an anti-viral agent that, according to the company, has proven in laboratory studies to inactivate HIV, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and human papillomavirus (HPV) (all viruses that cause STIs). They claim that the condoms have shown near-total antiviral protection against Zika as well, according to Reuters. The Dual Protect condoms will be shipped to the Olympic Village along with all the other condoms—over 450,000 total—that are available in free dispensing machines on every block, says Reuters.

While this all sounds very impressive, the only real way to prevent sexually transmitted Zika is to refrain from having vaginal, anal, or oral (mouth-to-penis) sex, says the CDC. (Note: They're still not sure whether women can transmit Zika through sex.) And if you're having sex anyway, *correct use* of regular condoms will prevent the spread of Zika as well—no need to hunt down this Australian brand.

It's worth noting that of the 503 reported cases in the U.S., only 10 have been sexually transmitted, according to the CDC. Traveling to areas with Zika and getting bitten by virus-carrying mosquitoes is still the main causes of Zika infections. And, unfortunately, condoms won't do anything to help you there. (For the whole lowdown on the virus, check out these 7 Things You Need to Know About Zika.)


Lauren Mazzo

Lauren Mazzo is a digital assistant editor for Shape and Fitness. She's an Ithaca College alumna, a Rochester, NY, native and an NYC transplant.  More →

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