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Brits launch ad
campaign against STD surge

Brits launch ad
campaign against STD surge

To address the recent rise in rates of sexually transmitted diseases among Brits 18 to 24 years old, the government has launched a multi-platform ad campaign. The ads depict young people in their underwear with signs that read, for example, "I've got gonorrhea." A box with the words "Condom Essential Wear" is designed to look like a fashion label. The ads are meant to highlight the fact that people with STDs cannot be identified by looking at them.

In England, rates of STDs among young people have increased since the 1990s, with one in nine sexually active people now infected with chlamydia. In July, the Health Protection Agency revealed that the overall rate of infection increased by 3% between 2004 and 2005.

The awareness campaign, which was launched in 2004 as a three-year initiative by the British government, has a budget of $95.5 million (U.S.).

Public health minister Caroline Flint said she would not confirm whether the government planned to spend the full budget, noting that the "Condom Essential Wear" campaign cost 4 million pounds alone.

"The aim of this campaign is to make carrying and using a condom among this age group as familiar as carrying a mobile phone, lipstick, or putting on a seat belt," Flint said to the Associated Foreign Press. "This is not about encouraging promiscuity but about saying to those who are already sexually active: Sex without a condom is seriously risky, so always use one." (The Advocate)

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