Airdate: Joyride

ABC2 will screen the documentary Joyride to coincide with World AIDS Day on 1 December 2017.

When the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offered grants to drive the development of a “next generation” condom, it was strongly suggested that the user experience needed to be improved so uptake would increase. Greater usage alone would prevent more unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infect ions (STIs).

Las Vegas based Frank Sadlo was one of only a few who developed a female condom in response. He named it Luvli. He proudly describes his invention as the first “unibody” condom in the world, meaning it is a single one – form design with no sponges, plastic rings, sticky pads or other additional elements. Frank worked with Brian Lai, a leading Thai manufacturer of latex medical gloves, ( latex is cheaper ) and Thai sculptors to etch pleasure – enhancing ridges into Luvli’s ceramic formers. Frank also collaborated with a condom manufacturer in South Africa and a lube maker in Australia. Luvli is typical of female condoms in that it is shaped like a male condom but is bigger.

Wondaleaf however is different , because it covers the skin all around the vagina too, further reducing the risk of body fluids being exchanged during sex. Some joke that removing Wondaleaf will be like getting a free wax and hairy users are advised to rub a thin layer of lotion over their genital hair for easier removal .

Referring to female condoms in general, Dr Mags Beksinska from the MatCH Research Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand in Durban explains, “Their main problem is that they can actually get pushed inside the woman’s body.” The difficulty of resolving these challenges partly explains why there are no widely accepted brands among the few products available. The PATH woman’s condom is seen as the gold standard and it took 17 years to bring to market. But it being polyurethane, price could be a problem.

Clive Kohrs who, alongside his wife Vera, is managing director of a condom factory in South Africa, says, “We are unfortunately in a HIV/AIDS hotspot …. we lose easily between 10 and 12% of our work staff annually. It’s heartbreaking.” They hope Frank will reach a financial agreement with American investor s to enable clinical trials of Luvli to go ahead soon if the Kohrs are to meet a commitment they’ve made to the South African Government to locally manufacture female condoms.

9:05pm Friday December 1 on ABC2.

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