Utah Governor Gary Herbert has ordered state health officials to stop distributing condoms labeled with “lewd” slogans.
About 100,000 condoms were to be handed out for free as part of an HIV awareness campaign to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS in Utah by encouraging people to engage in safe sexual practices.
The tax payer funded campaign called “The H is for Human,” launched on Monday. It will include local public outreach efforts and center around a new website, HIVandME.com.
The “tongue-in-cheek” designs causing the controversy were created by the Utah Department of Health and advertising agency, Love Communications.
The prophylactics were branded with a Utah theme that some found offensive.
A few of the condom packages read:
*Greatest Sex on Earth
*Put Your Arch Into It
*Explore Utah’s Caves
The governor’s office released the following statement Wednesday:
“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, and our office has asked the department to rework the campaign’s branding.”
The UDOH also released the following statement:
“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.”
According to the UDOH, there is one case of HIV diagnosed in Utah every three days (roughly 120 new infections are diagnosed in Utah every year).