Mental Floss

5 Innovative Ways to Encourage Safer Sex

Meghan Holohan
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Most people know that condoms help prevent the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI). But in many parts of the world, condoms aren't very popular. Here are five novel campaigns launched by nonprofit organizations and condom companies to encourage wider use.

1. A ring tone to remember

In India, people stigmatize condoms and refuse to wear them because they believe only prostitutes must use prophylactics. Leave it one of the world's richest men to find a solution—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated money for a national condom ring tone. An a cappella group sings "Condom, Condom"—in the style of doo-wop like the contagious pop song "Barbara Ann"—when one receives a phone call. Despite its bubblegum sound, officials hope that the people who have the condom ring tone appear smart and responsible. Since the ring tone's August launch, more than 60,000 people downloaded it. Yvonne MacPherson, country director of the BBC World Service Trust (which the Gates foundation funded), sums it up best when she said to the Associated Press: "A ring tone is a very public thing. It's a way to show you are a condom user and you don't have any issues with it." Right, nothing attracts the amorous attention like announcing loudly that you have a condom.

2. Perks you right up

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3. Condom trees

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4. Scare tactics

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5. Spray-on protection

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