Letters

The sexual health of boys and men

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7235.643 (Published 04 March 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:643

Commercial advertisements are needed to create a condom culture

  1. Mark A Bellis (m.a.bellis@livjm.ac.uk), head of public health,
  2. John R Ashton, regional director of public health
  1. Public Health Sector, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 2AB
  2. NHS Executive North West, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 7QN
  3. Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT

    EDITOR—Yamey highlighted the need for work on the sexual health of boys and men, and he identified education and service provision as the key factors in increasing condom use, among other outcomes.1 Both of these factors fail to address the underlying problem, that condoms are unpopular—they are far short of desired items among young men in particular.

    A major factor influencing cultural attitudes is not education or services but the media. Global marketing, vast advertising budgets, and sexual imagery are used to sell items as diverse as chocolate bars and sanitary products on television. However, noticeably absent in the United Kingdom is any commercial television advertisement promoting particular condom brands or targeted to the growing market for condoms. Consequently, the promotion of condom use falls largely on public sector bodies. Education and health bodies have already made condoms more available to young …

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