Sexual health groups take a swipe at condom company's joke STI Tinder profiles

HERO Condoms created 10 profiles, including Chlaramydia and Johnorrhea, to encourage young people to practice safe sex

HERO, Condoms, Australia, Tinder, STI, AIDS

Created by Australian artist Aaron Tyler, the profiles matched with hundreds of people on the popular app [HERO]

A condom company in Australia has come under some criticism for using the Tinder dating app to spread the word of sexually transmitted infections, after creating a number of real profiles that warn matched partners of the dangers of unprotected sex.

Enticing the app users, known for their desire for casual hook-ups, HERO Condoms invented a number of fake profiles, each one presented under a name incorporating an STI. As such, within 48 hours of launching the profiles, more than 100 people had swiped right and matched with the likes of Chlaramydia, Johnorrhea, Sydphilis, and Herpeia.

Aimed at Tinder users aged between 18 and 24, the condom company said it had created the 10 profiles in response to the rise in the number of people presenting with STIs in Australia, a growing health concern worldwide and in Ireland.

While many users cottoned on to the ruse immediately, a number did not, with the condom company's social media team then chatting to the Tinder user to further encourage condom use.

A screen shot of one of the conversations carried out between Chlaramydia and her potential match [HERO]

Created by Australian artist Aaron Tyler, HERO’s CMO David Wommelsdorff said the publicity drive was an effort to encourage young people to be prepared when engaging in sexual activity.

“Carrying a condom should not be seen in anyway a sign of bravado or promiscuity, but rather a symbol that you as an individual are in charge of your own sexual health and that of your partners,” he said.

The company's AIDS-inspired profiles came in for much criticism from sexual health professionals, who expressed concerns over the kind of message they send [HERO]

But the campaign’s AIDS-related profile, Aydes and Aidy, received a backlash for making light of the disease, while failing to fully explain the outcomes of HIV infection. Others claimed that the Tinder profiles further stigmatised those with the condition and could turn young people away from getting tested.

On the HERO Facebook page, a number of people criticised the campaign’s mocking tone, and suggested that the company engage with organisations working in sexual health to spread the right message.

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