LIFESTYLE

'Offensive' STI Dating Profiles Removed For 'Stigmatising' People With Infections

'This type of stigmatising marketing campaign is unacceptable.'

08/04/2016 13:12

A campaign which personified dating app users as STIs has been pulled after facing a major backlash, with some branding it "stigmatising, misinformed and downright offensive".

The campaign, created by Australian condom brand HERO and artist Aaron Tyler, used a series of fake Tinder profiles named after diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea to try and promote safe sex.

Herpez, Johnorrhoea and Chlaramydia were just some of the personified infections Tinder users could match with in a bid to raise awareness of STIs.

However people were left seriously unimpressed by the campaign - particularly the way it depicted HIV and AIDS - and took to social media to complain.

HERO condoms has since apologised for the offence caused and has removed the profiles from the dating site completely.

Tinder Users As STIs

The campaign was originally launched to raise awareness of sexually transmitted infections and improve sexual health among younger generations.

However it fell well short of the mark. 

One of the bios for a fake profile called Aidy reads: "I'm a positive kind of gal who likes to have fun. Knock knock. Who's there? AIDS. 

"I take things slow: one white blood cell at a time, for the rest of your life."

Sharing his opinion about the campaign, HIV/AIDs activist Nic Holas wrote in a piece for Gay Network News: "You might think it’s clever to depict HIV/AIDS as a 'positive kind of gal who likes to have fun', but I can assure you that most women living with HIV wouldn’t like being depicted as killing their partners 'one white blood cell at a time'."

He labelled the campaign as "stigmatising, misinformed and downright offensive" and also pointed out that the campaign's humanised STIs were mainly depicted as "flirty, skeezy or slutty".

"This, in turn, suggests people with those STIs fit that description. As though you have to be a “certain type of person” to contract one, which isn’t the case," he added.

Following Holas' article, other people joined in to tweet their feelings of disapproval... 

Responding to the backlash, Hero Condoms' CEO Dustin Leonard said: "Our STI safe sex awareness campaign was formulated with no intention of offending anyone.

"With this in mind, we were naturally disappointed that some of our latest efforts were misinterpreted, as this certainly was not our intention.

"We sincerely and unreservedly apologise for any offence that may have been caused by our genuine efforts to communicate the safe sex message."

They have now pulled the campaign from the site completely. 

SEE ALSO:

Condom Ad Campaign Turns STIs Into Tinder Dating Profiles To Promote Safe Sex

Calculator Reveals How Many People You've 'Indirectly' Had Sex With And STI Risk

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