A collection of innuendo-heavy, Utah-themed condoms that were produced as part of an HIV awareness campaign are getting pulled from distribution for being incredibly horny.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported this week that Governor Gary Herbert has directed Utah health officials to halt the distribution of the condoms in question. One displays a mile marker for Fillmore (6) and Beaver (9). Another two boldly advise users to “enjoy your mountin’” and “put your arch into it.” One nodding to Salt Lake reads “SL,UT.” Another states: “toss the jello salad.”
According to the Tribune, the condoms were being distributed as part of a campaign called “The H is for Human” intended to raise awareness about HIV. That campaign also included a website at HIVandMe.com, however that site appeared to be offline as of Friday afternoon. The Salt Lake City-based PR firm, Love Communications, that worked with the state health department on the campaign declined to comment and directed all questions to the department of health.
The Utah Department of Health issued a public apology on Wednesday for what it characterized as “offensive packaging.”
“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,” the department said in a statement. “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 a 2018 report from the Utah Department of Health’s Bureau of Epidemiology, the rate of new diagnoses for each of the previous two years was 3.8 for every 100,000 residents, with 122 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in 2018. The report noted that while “rates have declined significantly since the height of the epidemic, they have been relatively stable over the past 10 years.”
“It’s really just to destigmatize HIV in Utah, and get everybody talking about sexual health,” Erin Fratto, a representative of the Utah Department of Health’s Prevention Treatment and Care Program, told the Salt Lake Tribune before the Governor’s decision. “If the condoms are fun, relatable, sex positive — people are more apt to talk about them, which we’ve already seen.”
A spokesperson for the governor’s office told Gizmodo that the entire campaign has been suspended “until all campaign materials can be re-assessed.” The spokesperson added that at Herbert’s request, any condoms that have not already been handed out are being collected.
“The Governor understands the importance of the Utah Department of Health conducting a campaign to educate Utahns about HIV prevention,” the governor’s office said in a statement to Gizmodo. “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.”
Added addition comment from the governor’s office.