Governor Not OK With State's Utah-Themed Condoms

Gary Herbert cancels distribution of condoms in packaging with 'sexual innuendo'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2020 9:20 AM CST
Governor Not OK With State's Utah-Themed Condoms
Definitely eye-catching.   (Utah Department of Health, via Salt Lake Tribune)

As part of its awareness-raising HIVandMe campaign, the state of Utah offers prevention and treatment resources, a clinic finder—and, to the governor's irritation, provocatively packaged prophylactics that have now been canceled. Per the Salt Lake Tribune, Gov. Gary Herbert has nixed the distribution of a stockpile of 100,000 condoms adorned in colorful wrappers featuring Utah-themed slogans with a twist: Think "Uintah Sex?," "Explore Utah's Caves," "SL,UT" (which KSTU explains stands for "Salt Lake, Utah"), and the like. "It's really just to destigmatize HIV in Utah and get everybody talking about sexual health," a health department rep said before the cancellation. "If the condoms are fun, relatable, sex positive, people are more apt to talk about them."

The condoms were funded with federal grant money, designed by local PR agency Love Communications, and handed out in bars, clubs, and HIV clinics, among other locations. "The governor understands the importance of the ... campaign to educate Utahns about HIV prevention," a statement from his office issued Wednesday reads. "He does not, however, approve the use of sexual innuendo as part of a taxpayer-funded campaign, and our office has asked the department to rework the campaign’s branding." The health department has since apologized for the "lewd" packaging, which it says "did not go through necessary approval channels." Stats show a person is diagnosed every three days in Utah with HIV, leading to about 120 cases per year. (More Utah stories.)

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