New safe sex condom emoji launched ahead of World AIDS Day

The icon was chosen after a global survey

New safe sex condom emoji launched ahead of World AIDS Day

2009 file photo of a general view of condoms | Image: Niall Carson PA Wire/Press Association Images

This Thursday marks 2016 World AIDS Day, and this year will see something different.

Condom maker Durex has revealed an unofficial safe sex emoji.

It says this following a global poll in response to a refusal by computing industry standard Unicode to create an official icon.

The open umbrella with raindrops is being used to help raise awareness of the risks associated with unprotected sex.

Image: Durex

More than 75% of 16 to 35-year-olds surveyed use emojis to discuss sex, with nine out of 10 claiming that a safe sex emoji would help them to talk more openly about safe sex.

While almost 50% of them think that HIV is not something that could ever affect them, despite the fact that the virus remains a global threat - with 2.1 million people newly infected with HIV in 2015.

And more than 60% of young people surveyed admitted to being uncomfortable discussing safe sex, with 72% of respondants saying they found it easier to express emotions using emojis.

The company is calling for people across the globe to use and share the emoji to raise awareness of the risks associated with unprotected sex, and to demonstrate the need for an official condom emoji to appear on every smartphone.

Durex global category director, Volker Sydow, said: "We believe that for this World AIDS Day identifying the unofficial safe sex emoji is an important step that helps to empower young people to put safe sex back on the agenda, supporting the fight to reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS.

"We are asking people to show their support for the cause by using this unofficial safe sex emoji and sharing the hashtag #CondomEmoji."

The campaign has also received the support of the International Planned Parenthood Association (IPPF).