Free condom campaign halted over 'offensive packaging' with sexual innuendos

Sarah Young
One in ten young adults surveyed by YouGov said they had never used a condom: Rex Features

The distribution of 100,000 free condoms has been halted over concerns that the packaging was “offensive”.

Utah’s Department of Health planned to hand out the condoms as part of a new HIV prevention campaign “The H is for Human”, which aimed to “destigmatise HIV in Utah and get everybody talking about sexual health”.

However, Utah Governor Gary Herbert put a stop to the giveaway because of the racy slogans that featured on the packaging.

The condoms were wrapped in small cardboard holders with Utah-specific euphemisms such as the “Greatest Sex On Earth,” a play on the state’s phrase the “Greatest Snow On Earth,” and “SL, UT” — which combines the abbreviation for Salt Lake City and the one for Utah.

Others phrases included “Explore Utah’s Caves,” “Don’t Go Bare,” and “Toss The Jello Salad.”

A statement read: “The Governor understands the importance of the Utah Department of Health conducting a campaign to educate Utahns about HIV prevention.

“He does not, however, approve the use of sexual innuendo as part of a taxpayer-funded campaign.”

In response, the Department of Health tweeted a public apology and explained that the designs did not go through necessary approval channels.

“The Utah Department of Health apologises for the offensive packaging included on condoms distributed as part of an HIV campaign,” the tweet read.

“The designs did not go through necessary approval channels and we have asked our partners to stop distributing them immediately. We regret the lewd nature of the branding.

“We remain committed to running a campaign to help in the prevention of HIV and intend to do so in a manner that better respects taxpayer dollars, and our role as a government agency.”

The condoms were supposed to be distributed for free through local health departments, the Utah AIDS foundation, bars and other places in the community alongside a larger “H is for Human” campaign on billboards, transit and TV adverts.

The campaign is to encourage testing and prevention.

According to Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) – a British charity that campaigns for and provides services relating to HIV and sexual health – HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, with ‘immunodeficiency’ referring to the weakening of the immune system by the virus.

While HIV has been passed on between humans for many decades it was only identified in the early 1980s.

The charity adds that HIV can be transmitted through body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, anal mucus and breast milk.

If you are concerned that you might have HIV, THT recommends asking your GP for a test.

For more information and advice on HIV you can contact THT Direct by calling 0808 802 1221 or sending an email to info@tht.org.uk.

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