Originally published on Advocate.com August 20 2008 12:00 AM ET
A cell phone
ringtone that sings "Condom, condom!" has been
launched to promote safe sex in India, where condoms carry a
strong social stigma and HIV and AIDS are growing
problems, health experts said Tuesday.
The a cappella
ringtone features a professional singer chanting the word
"condom" more than 50 times, a playful approach that public
health activists hope will spark discussion and make condoms
more socially acceptable.
"We've made a
conscious effort to move the concept of the condom away
from negative association, like HIV and sex work," said
Yvonne MacPherson, country director of BBC World
Service Trust India. "Condoms are actually health
products, and if you have a condom and you use it, you
are seen to be smart and responsible."
million people in India are infected with HIV, and mention
of the disease is still largely taboo.
The BBC group,
which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
hopes the condom ringtone can make people in India more
comfortable with safe sex issues.
More than 270
million people use mobile phones in India, and ringtones,
especially those featuring hit Bollywood songs, are
"A ringtone is a
very public thing," she said. "It's a way to show you
are a condom user and you don't have any issues with it."
The ringtone was
launched August 8 and has been downloaded 60,000 times,
MacPherson said. (AP)