When the internet heard that Bill Gates was investing money into building a better condom, it erupted into giggle fits like a bunch of immature jocks in the back of a high school health class. Cue the Microsoft puns. But considering how many people this world has living with AIDS (approximately 34 million) and how many people’s lives are affected by STDs (too many to tabulate), maybe we should calm down with the jokes and take this issue seriously.
Bill Gates is offering a $100,000 grant to whoever wants to make a “next generation condom,” one that feels so realistic, no man will have a problem wearing it. Out of the 80 grant recipients, one might be able to win a follow-up grant worth $1 million. Why is Bill Gates so invested in better condoms that people will be more likely to use? Probably because The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent a fortune on treating AIDS and HIV. According to the foundation’s website:
To date, the foundation has committed more than US$2.5 billion in HIV grants to organizations around the world. We have also committed more than US$1.4 billion to the Global Fund. Beyond our direct investments in HIV, we advocate for sustained and increased funding for HIV service delivery.
The sad fact is that the AIDS virus is normally spread through unprotected sex. And many couples choose unprotected sex because men don’t like the way a condom feels. So if Bill Gates spends a couple million dollars to create better condoms, ones that more people will use, it could be a crucial investment.
Instead of using this announcement to have evening news anchors snicker over Gates’ transition from “software to hardware,” why not use this challenge as an opportunity to discuss this important issue that doesn’t get a whole lot of press. Why not actually provide beneficial information, because it’s worth noting that even here in the United States, there’s a lot of dangerous unprotected sex going on.
I am a serious lover of puns. And on a normal day, I find the internet’s way of obsessing over geeky or childish events that might not otherwise get a ton of attention endearing. But today, it kind of sucks to turn such an honorable goal into a joke. Sorry internet. I’m #notimpressed.
(Photo: Daniel Deme / WENN.com)