Bill Gates on Developing a Better (and Thinner) Condom

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Vaccines aren’t dangerous, according to Bill Gates. It’s the belief that they can cause autism that poses a serious threat to the health of children.

The 58-year-old billionaire philanthropist spoke to “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos” in an interview that will air on Tuesday.

“Nothing has saved more lives than vaccines, and nothing has been more disproven than any link between vaccines and negative things like autism,” Gates told Ramos, citing studies that reject the link between vaccines and the disorder. “The evidence is mind-blowingly overwhelming.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released its annual letter on Tuesday, with Gates outlining his vision for eradicating the world’s worst poverty in the next 20 years.

Global health initiatives and vaccines are a major part of achieving that goal. The foundation website says that “vaccines are among the most cost-effective investments in global health, saving about 2.5 million lives each year.”

In addition to vaccines, Gates spoke with Ramos about his foundation’s investment in research to create a thinner, stronger condom. The foundation awarded more than $1 million in grants toward the goal in November.

“The common analogy is that wearing a condom is like taking a shower with a raincoat on,” Dr. Papa Salif Sow, a senior program officer on the HIV team at the Gates Foundation told The New Republic at the time of the announcement. “A redesigned condom that overcomes inconvenience, fumbling, or perceived loss of pleasure would be a powerful weapon in the fight against poverty."

Ramos asked Gates why he decided to experiment with improving condoms.

“In general, if women want to have contraception, we think it should be available to them,” Gates said on Tuesday. “So whatever new ideas there are to make it more convenient, less side effects...we’re a big funder of innovation in that area, as well.”

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