That’s what condom maker Durex is pushing for, as it tries to convince the Unicode Consortium to include a safe-sex emoji on World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.
The company launched a #CondomEmoji campaign across social media this week, asking people to support an emoji that makes it abundantly clear that people want safe sex. People already use peaches and eggplants to send sexy messages, but a banana just doesn’t quite convey the idea that, hey, we need some protection.
Durex conducted a study to see just how valuable a safe-sex or condom emoji could be, and the company discovered that 80 percent of 16-to-25-year-olds across Europe find it “easier to express themselves using emoji.” More than half of study participants said they regularly used emoji when discussing sex.
A condom emoji could make the safe-sex conversation a bit smoother—84 percent of 16-to-25-year-olds said they feel more comfortable talking about sex using the tiny graphics.
More troubling statistics show that a third of these same respondents claimed not to care about safe sex at all. Half of them thought that HIV wouldn’t affect them or their friends.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that, in the United States, approximately one in four new HIV infections targets young people aged 13 to 24. And while sex education and global health are improving, there are still 35 million people worldwide living with HIV.
“Durex believes in happier, healthier sex lives and World AIDS Day is a hugely significant reminder about the importance of safe sex,” Volker Sydow, global director of Durex, said in a statement. “Looking at how influential messaging is in the development of relationships today, an official safe sex emoji is a simple and empowering step towards better protection and sexual wellbeing.”
The response to Charlie Sheen‘s recent revelation that he is HIV-positive seemed to underscore the ignorance that still surrounds HIV. After Sheen publicly announced that he had been living with HIV for the last four years, many on the Internet, and even some of his fellow celebrities, rushed to persecute him and the HIV-positive community.
Condoms are highly effective in preventing the spread of HIV. If a condom emoji can help people, both young and old, feel more comfortable asking for and discussing safe sex, then it seems like a perfectly reasonable addition to an emoji roster that already includes a unicorn and a taco.
Photo via Durex