Get 'em talking

Utah condom campaign halted as Governor objects to “lewd” packaging

Some of the Utah condom packets
Some of the Utah condom packets (Photo: Utah Department of Health)

A safer sex campaign in Utah has been put on hold as the Governor doesn’t like the sexual innuendo on the packaging.

Utah Department of Health launched its ‘Hi is for Human’ HIV campaign recently.

The campaign includes distributing condoms in packets that make humorous references to Utah state and its landmarks. The condoms were sent to local Utah health departments, community groups, the Utah AIDS Foundation and the University of Utah.

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“It’s really just to destigmatize HIV in Utah, and get everybody talking about sexual health,” said Erin Fratto, of the Utah Department of Health’s Prevention Treatment and Care Program, on Wednesday before the governor took action.

“If the condoms are fun, relatable, sex-positive — people are more apt to talk about them, which we’ve already seen.”

The plans went better than planned… people all over the world are now talking about the campaign!

Packets included slogans such as “SL, UT” (a play on Salt Lake City, Utah), and “Greatest Sex On Earth,” a twist on the state being known for the “Greatest Snow On Earth.”

Other phrases included “Explore Utah’s Caves,” “Toss The Jello Salad,” “You into bare?” (with an illustration of a bear) and “Uintah sex?.”

Related: I used condoms from age 20. At 50, here’s why I stopped.

However, Governor Gary Herbert did not appreciate the approach.

A statement from his office 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.”

The Utah Department of Health issued an apology on Wednesday.

“The Utah Department of Health apologizes for the offensive packaging included on condoms distributed as part of an HIV campaign. 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 campaign will now be re-designed. It’s understood that 130,000 condoms had been ordered as part of the campaign and 42,000 had already been distributed.