It's no secret that Olympic athletes get busy between the sheets when they're staying at the Olympic Village, but will the Zika virus curb that behavior? Now that it's known Zika can be spread through sex, it's got some countries researching ways to keep their athletes safe when they're not competing for medals.
The Australian Olympic Committee announced Monday it will supply all athletes competing in the Rio de Janeiro games in August with Zika-resistant condoms. The Dual Protect VivaGel condoms are the world's only antiviral condom, offer users double protection thanks to the condom's latex material and antiviral gel.
However, a spokesman from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Salon the added measure offers no additional benefits. "There is no evidence that addition of an anti-infective alters the effectiveness of condoms, whether it improves them or makes them less effective," Benjamin N. Haynes said. " ...Addition of anti-infectives have not been demonstrated to the best of our knowledge to improve the effectiveness of condoms to prevent STDs."
In a press release, the AOC said the condoms offer "near-complete antiviral protection against Zika virus in laboratory studies." There's even a bonus. The condom has also been shown to "inactivate" HSV (genital herpes) and HPV (human papillomavirus)."
The condom is an Australian invention produced by two national pharmaceutical companies, StarPharma and Ansell.
Thus far, the Center for Disease Control only has evidence that men can transfer the Zika virus to their sexual partners. The organization does not yet know if a woman can spread the virus or how long the virus stays active in the body for sexual transmission to occur. As of May, the CDC reported 503 Zika cases in the U.S. alone, with 10 of those being contracted sexually.
In December, Brazil declared a state of emergency based on the Zika outbreak. The fact that the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be held in Brazil's capital has caused a great deal of concern.
World Health Organization released on May 12 tips for athletes and visitors traveling to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics. Advice included protecting the skin from mosquitos by wearing repellant and practicing safer sex by using condoms.