Health department relaunches HIV prevention campaign following condom slipup

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Health is relaunching its HIV prevention campaign following a blunder related to the previous campaign’s marketing materials.

In a statement Tuesday, the department said “in consultation with the Governor’s Office,” it had reviewed all creative aspects of the “H is for Human” HIV prevention campaign.

The campaign was reinstated including the HIVandMe.com website which houses “information, resources, and support for those living with HIV, those at risk for HIV, or people trying to support a friend or family member living with the infection.”

This undated photo provided by the Utah Department of Health shows condoms. The state of Utah is trying something new to fight HIV infections: handing out condoms with cheeky plays on state pride. (Utah Department of Health, via AP)

For the campaign, the department planned to hand out 100,000 condoms for free through partner agencies like the Utah AIDS Foundation.

The condoms came in “wallets” or small cardboard holders that featured cheeky slogans that put a “sexy spin” on state pride. The packaging was labeled with phrases like “The Greatest Sex on Earth,” a spin on the famous license-plate ski slogan “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”

Hours after the designs became public, Gov. Gary Herbert ordered the department to stop distributing them.

Herbert said he understands the importance of educating residents about HIV prevention, but he does not approve of using sexual innuendo as part of a taxpayer-funded campaign.

Health officials said they were trying to start a conversation in a fun way, but they later apologized after Herbert put the kibosh on the campaign.

The department said it is now making a concerted effort to get back the condoms that were distributed already.

The “wallets” with the Utah-themed messaging will be removed and destroyed, and the condoms will then be redistributed to partner agencies, the department said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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