Guest Editorials

Gov. Herbert, thanks for the free publicity

Dear Gov. Herbert,

I’d like to thank you for pulling the distribution of the Utah-centric condoms from the HIV and ME campaign. With both hands clutched tightly around your pearls, you singlehandedly provided the media with a story that went viral about this important statewide HIV education and prevention initiative. That was the main purpose of the images on the condom packaging, all carefully chosen by a team of distinguished healthcare professionals, approved by a veteran state health department communications director, but which you found personally offensive.

The thing you probably didn’t realize were that these images with sexy themes were meant for adult eyes only, specifically those at risk for HIV. Now, due to you putting the spotlight on these creative condom packets, every man, woman and child in Utah (and the nation) has had access to see them.

That probably wasn’t your intent, but I do believe that sex-positive messaging is fundamentally important in a state like Utah which denies basic sex education in its school system. In fact, you’ve got the whole state talking about sex, HIV and STI prevention. I’m sure the Eagle Forum is thrilled. I know I am.

I only hope you take a moment to think about how absurd this all has been. Recalling condoms that everyone has seen already, paid for by federal dollars, at Utah taxpayers expense. Repackaging them by hand (also at Utah tax payer’s expense) which is ultimately less cost effective than ordering new condoms in bulk.

My only complaint is that the publicity generated by this story makes all Utahns look stupid. That distinction ultimately should belong to officials like yourself who put personal bias ahead of Utah’s public health and the well-being of our citizens.

But otherwise, good job!

Michael Sanders
Salt Lake City

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