SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An HIV-awareness campaign featuring condom wrappers with cheeky slogans that put a sexy spin on state pride met a quick end in Utah as the governor ordered the health department to stop distributing them.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s intervention came hours after the designs became public on Wednesday. Herbert, a Republican, 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.
The prophylactics were labeled with phrases like “The Greatest Sex on Earth,” a spin on the famous license-plate ski slogan “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”
About 100,000 of the condoms were to be handed out for free through the Utah AIDS Foundation, local health departments and University of Utah clinics. Community activists also planned to place them at bars, social clubs and motels. The campaign was created with federal funds.
“We’re really trying to have fun with it, get people talking,” Erin Fratto, a health program specialist at the Utah Department of Health, said before the governor’s order. “We’re pushing the envelope.”
After the governor weighed in, though, the health department apologized for the “offensive” packaging, said the campaign had not gone through the necessary approval channels and authorities regretted the “lewd nature of the branding.”
Wyoming and Alaska have also done similar campaigns in recent years.