As state officials make plans to destroy thousands of recalled condom wrappers emblazoned with sexy Utah-themed slogans, a complete set of the 13 condoms appeared on eBay.
“NEW, MINT CONDITION,” the ad promises. “Banned in Utah!”
The starting bid for the set is $250, and proceeds will go toward HIV education, according to the ad.
The Utah Department of Health ordered 130,000 condoms as part of an HIV awareness campaign launched this month with a coalition of patient advocates. The cardboard envelops riff on various Utah memes, with labels such as “Greatest Sex on Earth,” “SL,UT,” an image of a highway sign that displays the number of miles to towns “Fillmore” and “Beaver,” and “This is the Place” over a drawing of a bed.
The Health Department already had sent more than 40,000 of the condoms to community groups and health providers statewide when Gov. Gary Herbert last week ordered a halt to distribution, criticizing the use of “sexual innuendo as part of a taxpayer-funded campaign.”
Health officials issued an apology, temporarily suspended the “H is for Human” awareness campaign, and took down a related informational website about HIV. Health Department employees scrambled to recover the thousands of condoms circulating in the state. On Tuesday, health officials confirmed they planned to remove the condoms and destroy the cardboard covers.
“I gathered what I could and feel that rather than destroying these, they could help raise money for Utah HIV charities such as the Utah AIDS Foundation,” the eBay seller, identified as “pinkchampagne,” said in a message.
Some of the condoms also are being framed and donated for silent auction at the foundation’s Oscars Gala, the seller said. The foundation, one of the state’s partners in the campaign, has described “H is for Human” as the first comprehensive and truly culturally relevant campaign the state had provided. Foundation leaders have said the condom labels were designed both to grab attention and to communicate to at-risk populations that Utah is a safe place to talk about sexual health.
Eleven “watchers” were tracking bids for the set on eBay as of Wednesday afternoon.
“As Seen in the news around the world! Own a piece of LGBTQ History! Suitable for framing!” the ad states. “Utah’s governor, Gary Herbert (R), put an end to the safe-sex fun and demanded that the campaign be stopped and all of the remaining condoms out there be confiscated. They were featured in the news everywhere and are not available. ... THESE ARE THE ORIGINAL THING!”
Meanwhile, the state had revived the HIV awareness campaign as of Tuesday and the HIVandME.com information website was back online. The plan is to distribute the recovered condoms.