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International News

Canada: One Size Does Not Fit All in Condom Ads

June 1, 2009

The "Wrap It Right" condom promotion campaign has been a hit with young South Asians in Canada, according to a recent survey of 106 heterosexual undergraduate students. When the messages first launched on OMNI TV and mass transit in 2007, not everyone was so enthusiastic, said Firdaus Ali, communications director of the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention. The ads broke a lot of ground: targeting women, showing two gay South Asian men embracing, and discussing sex and condoms.

"We had hate calls, tremendous homophobia, people demanding 'How dare you?'" recalled Firdaus. "We saw it as a chance to talk to them, to get them to think." HIV among South Asian women had jumped by 15 percent, she said. She knew that many gay South Asians felt a familial duty to marry, but they still had sex with men and put their wives at risk.

The ads, which Firdaus described as "funky," have the tag line "We wrap it right. Do you? Being Desi will not protect you, condoms will." Desi means, roughly, "of the homeland."

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"Not everyone thought it was a cool campaign," said Dr. Trevor Hart, who studied the campaign's effect on the South Asian community. "Some people thought it was too Bollywood and would have liked more South Asian people not dressed in saris and turbans or eating traditional food."

Hart and Amrita Ghai, a graduate student at York University, found the undergraduates surveyed very satisfied with the campaign, rating it an average 4.27 on a five-point scale. The team found no difference in approval between virgins and the sexually experienced, or differences in response according to age, sex, immigration status, religion or acculturation. However, the students believed their parents would rate the campaign lower, at about 3.17 on the scale.

Back to other news for June 2009

Adapted from:
Toronto Star
06.01.2009; Lesley Ciarula Taylor


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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