April 2014

Pop Art Condoms Promote Safe Sex

Created by:

Ryan Henson



Pop art and condoms?

It may seem like an odd pairing, but together they create what could be a powerful tool to prevent HIV transmission among teens.  

An article posted by Think Progress last week highlighted a campaign in Kenya that created a new line of condoms with popular art as packaging. Created by the Center for African Studies, an organization based in Nairobi, “Pop Art Condoms” takes the colorful and energetic work of popular Kenya artist Michael Soi and uses it to present condoms to teens in a way that is accessible, attractive, and even cool. 

The organization hopes the condoms will be an answer to the very real problem of stigma and fear associated with buying condoms for many Kenyan teens. Teens are afraid to be seen purchasing condoms as they may be labeled as sexually promiscuous. This same fear leads teens to eschew condoms and practice unsafe sex, increasing their risk of contracting and transmitting HIV. 

These problems are not unique to Kenyan youth. With young people accounting for 42 percent of new HIV infections, the choice to not use protection can have dire consequences in the global fight to end HIV/AIDS. Lack of condom use due to stigma, fear, and other social and cultural factors is one of the principle barriers to effective HIV prevention efforts.  

In fact, UNAIDS strongly supports the increase of condom use in countries most affected by the HIV epidemic, stating “The male latex condom is the single, most efficient available technology to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.”

This is why campaigns to encourage safe sex, such as “Pop Art Condoms,” are such a crucial part of the fight against HIV. Wrapping condoms in funky and popular art not only makes them harder to identify, and thus more comfortable to purchase in public, it also works to change teen’s perceptions of condoms and their use.

These kinds of shifts in attitudes and behavior, among teens and adults alike, are necessary to ensuring a future free of AIDS. Here at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) we support this and other innovative ideas that strive to overcome barriers to HIV prevention and treatment.

Learn more about EGPAF’s work to combat HIV/AIDS in teens and adolescents and in Kenya.