Metro Weekly

Durex wants a condom emoji to help young people discuss safe sex

Credit: Durex

Credit: Durex

“A safe sex emoji will empower [young people] to talk openly about protection.”

Durex, in an excerpt from an open letter published on Twitter. The condom manufacturer is targeting the Unicode Consortium, who set the standard for the emojis that populate our smartphones. Durex is convinced that a condom emoji will help young adults discuss safe sex more openly — and they have the research to back it up.

In November last year, a study by Durex found that four-fifths of 18-25 year olds find it easier to express themselves and are more comfortable using emojis when discussing sex — and more than half regularly use them when discussing sex. Worryingly, one-third also claim not to care about safe sex and almost half believe HIV won’t affect them or their friends.

“In light of this research, the Durex brand is asking 1 million people to use and share the hashtag #CondomEmoji to represent their support of the creation of the world’s first official safe sex emojis by the Unicode Consortium,” Karen Chisholm, Marketing Director, Durex USA, said in a statement. “Emojis of this sort will enable young people to overcome embarrassment around the discussion of safe sex, encourage conversation and raise awareness of the importance of using condoms in protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV and AIDS.”

Durex’s latest push comes as the consortium is set to meet to discuss new emojis. The full, emoji-filled letter is below (though we’ve removed the emoji to make it a little easier to read — scroll down for the original):

Dear Unicode,

This week you’re meeting to discuss new emojis for phones. We believe #CondomEmoji should be one of them! Remember it?

The benefits are clear to see, it’s not rocket science. Emojis have changed how young people communicate about the birds and the bees. A safe sex emoji will empower them to talk openly about protection. This is vital to prevent STIs inc. HIV and AIDS.

Lots of people across the world have said a safe sex emoji is a good idea.

Let’s make 2016 the year emojis take safe sex seriously and we go beyond the [vegetable emoji].

Durex’s project has the support of AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Terrence Higgins Trust, and MTV’s Staying Alive foundation.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.