The Olympic Village that houses athletes during the Olympic games has a reputation for debauchery, so athletes already have access to free and plentiful supplies of condoms throughout the Olympic Village. But in Rio this year, the Australian Olympic Committee is taking things one step further by supplying athletes with condoms specifically treated to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus.
Two Australian companies collaborated to create the anti-Zika condoms that the Australian Olympic Committee hopes will protect the athletes from down under. Ansell condoms (the world’s second largest condom maker) will be treated with Starpharma’s VivaGel, which helps with antiviral protection against transmission of Zika. VivaGel also works to neutralize more common sexually transmitted viruses like HIV and herpes.
The move comes following a variety of overlapping world health scares, including scientists concluding that Zika can be sexually transmitted. “The health and wellbeing of the team comes first,” said Kitty Chiller, Australian chef de mission. Australian athletes will also be provided with intense insect repellents to ward off the Aedes Aegypti mosquitos that carry the Zika virus. Capitalizing on the infamous reputation of off-duty athletes kicking back in the Olympic Village, Ansell’s VivaGel condoms kill two birds with one stone, metaphorically speaking. If all goes well, the double duty condoms may actually help increase the rate of usage amongst Olympic athletes to even better protect against both Zika and unwanted sexual side effects.
Rio’s Olympic Games are already making many athletes nervous, from the spread of Zika, to the city’s allegedly contaminated water supply. But the Olympic Village has sexual health covered, what with its 350,000 male condoms, 100,000 female condoms, and 175,000 containers of lubricant available for free in every building in the village. Hopefully, adding VivaGel to stop the transmission of Zika will keep athletes safe from one more health threat in Rio.
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