Giant tactical installations in South African cities with thousands of condoms spelling out the names of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), is an innovative way through which the USAID-funded Anova's Health4Men initiative is spreading the message of STI prevention.
Conceptualised and executed by NATIVE VML, it is one of the first projects on the continent to draw considerable attention to and address the sexual health needs of men who have sex with men (MSM).
"Through this project we are raising awareness of the fact that syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV) and gonorrhea are common STIs in SA and using condoms can reduce transmission. Health4Men wants South Africa's men to have great sex, from top to bottom, and we want them to be responsible about it. So make the message viral, not the infections," says Glenn de Swardt, Programme Manager at Anova's Health4Men.
NATIVE VML Executive Creative Director, Ryan McManus, adds, "The easiest way to prevent getting an STI is by using a Health4Men coloured condom. That's why we decided to raise awareness of preventing STIs by using the actual condom as the message. By bringing STIs into the public consciousness with these giant tactical installations, it also made condoms easily accessible to the public. Through the simple act of taking a condom off the wall, the public did the rest, helping to make STIs disappear by choosing to protect themselves."
The first in a series of Cape Town activations was launched on 17 May on a wall across the road from the Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Bearing the word "syphilis", the activation ran in the morning, with all of the 2236 condoms being removed by the public within two hours.
"The activation received great exposure across social media channels from passers-by who saw and interacted with the installation, and elicited a tremendously enthusiastic response from the public," says McManus.
A second set of activations planned for Johannesburg are also set to tie in with Health4Men's launch of a new web- and mobisite for their sexy new MSM site, PlayNice.
For more information on Health4Men, clinic services and STIs visit http://www.health4men.co.za/
or join find Health4Men on Facebook, and follow @H4Mtop2btm
on Twitter for updates as to where the Condom Walls will be appearing next.