Rubber Revolution strives for safer sex

Photo: Robert Elyov via Flickr

A brewing controversy pits public health versus how the government spends taxpayer dollars. The D.C. government has unveiled a sex ad campaign featuring millennials partying in a limo. The goal: to target condom use.

The 30-second ad strives to make safe sex sexy. D.C. health officials hope residents hear them out. They held a launch party Monday, drumming up support for The Rubber Revolution.

“In the District of Columbia we have an epidemic of HIV, which means that more than 1 percent of the population is HIV positive,” says Najma Roberts, the communications director at the D.C. Department of Health. “When you think about STD’s, upwards of 6 percent of our young people have some STD.”

The District’s Department of Health is fighting that troubling trend with free condoms. Two versions of the commercial remind viewers to text "DCWRAP" to 61827 if they need some delivered, dial 311 to place an order over the phone, or pick up a pack in person at any condom distribution site. No one ever gets a bill.

“I think it’s a great effort,” says Wendell Hall of D.C. “I think any time the city gets a chance to be proactive in combating health issues, they should go for it.”

“I don’t know if it’s going to work or not, but they have to think or something outside the box,” says Max Etin of D.C.

But not everyone is keen on the campaign moving from print and radio to primetime TV.

“Sex is an adult time and very small children and younger children who are not meant to necessarily be seeing those things would be seeing them,” says Chelsea Hochstetler of D.C.

“Some people might think it sends a message that they don’t want them to send with using taxpayer dollars,” says Etin. “There are some people who believe in abstinence only and things like that, but at the end of the day we have a health epidemic here and we have to do something about it.”