What would an AIDS conference be without a new safe sex initiative? And the recent one in Washington was no exception. “Live, Love and Condomize!” is the new slogan sponsored by the UN Population Fund, with the message for everyone to “wear condoms loudly and proudly”. They want to make condoms readily available to all and, by using colourful latex, different flavours and brightly designed packaging, are attempting to give them a funky feel and reduce any stigma associated with their use.
Condomize may be coming to the movies, too. Just as Hollywood has been pressured into limiting cigarette smoking in films, now it is being urged to add condoms to sex scenes. Around 84% of mainstream movies contain sex scenes and a fair proportion of them, such as the “Twilight” franchise, are aimed at younger audiences. Teenagers, researchers claim, base their practice of real-life sex on what they see in films and they are also likely to have more sex after seeing it played out on the big screen.
Currently where condoms are shown at all, they are portrayed jokily, or as embarrassing and inconvenient. Showing the responsible use of condoms could turn this around, say the proponents of this initiative, and encourage teens to adopt safer sex practices. It is currently estimated that only around 60% of teenagers in the UK and US having sex use them.
Robert Page is founder of the Lovers’ Guide