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The contest is part of the Foundation's Round 11 Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, aiming to create a more pleasurable condom.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is offering $100,000 to anyone who can make a condom people actually like to use - a "next-generation" condom.
The feel of latex prophylactics has been central to why men choose not to use them, putting their partner at risk for sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
A lack of use has caused the spread of HIV/AIDS and has hindered family planning around the globe.
The contest is part of the Foundation's Round 11 Grand Challenges Explorations initiative and will offer financial support above the initial funding if a new condom is chosen.
The description of the challenge reads:
"The primary drawback from the male perspective is that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom, creating a trade-off that many men find unacceptable, particularly given that the decisions about use must be made just prior to intercourse."
The initiative seeks to create a condom that enhances pleasure and comfort.
"Material science and our understanding of neurobiology has undergone revolutionary transformation in the last decade yet that knowledge has not been applied to improve the product attributes of one of the most ubiquitous and potentially underutilized products on earth."
It is estimated that about 15 billion condoms are produced every year.
There are 750 million users worldwide.