“In the last 4 years the use of social media and smart phones has surged and we think this approach will work better than putting up posters around town,” Karin Rågsjö of the Institute for Communicable Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet) told The Local.
The effort, which goes under the name “Knull Deluxe” (literally: Fuck deluxe), was launched by the National Council for Coordination of HIV Prevention (Nationella hivrådet) and the Institute for Communicable Disease Control.
Its aim is to get more young people to use condoms by getting them to log on to an interactive website – or use an application for smart phones enabling them to find the nearest place to purchase condoms wherever they are.
According to a new Youth Barometer (Ungdomsbarometern) survey conducted by the council together with the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) one in six Swedish youth say that using a condom “work fine in theory but less good in practice”.
Especially younger males said they would only use a condom if a partner “insisted”.
According to Rågsjö one of the difficulties lies in getting young people to talk about condoms. If the issue is brought up it will become more accepted to address with your partner.
“Fifteen years ago there were very few who would wear a bicycle helmet when they went out for a ride but now it is the norm. It might be a silly simile but the information campaigns worked,” Rågsjö said.
Using social media and smart phones to reach young people was both a matter of keeping costs down and a strategic move to reach the target group, according to Rågsjö.
The application also has a game in which you can test how suited you are to your partner.
But not everyone is convinced. When newspaper Metro asked some young people what they thought the response wasn’t overly positive.
“Those that need condoms know where to get them. They’re so easily accessible anyway that I don’t think it will make that much of a difference,” one said.
Another thought that the whole buying process was what made acquiring condoms a trial.
“Just hand them out for free. It is annoying to have to go buy them, it is so much better if they’re just there,” he said.
Last year’s campaign focussed on behaviour and featured an interactive site called Knullträdet (the Fuck Tree) reminding people that when they have sex with a new partner they also have sex with all of their ex-partners.
The site also enabled users to chart their sexual history and establish how many people were actually in their sexual tree.
This year the website contains the condom finder, an information film about condoms, as well as handy tips for condom-use, information on the benefits of using condoms and where to go if you suspect you have an STD.
The film, which features people through the ages engaging in sexual conduct, is starting to make a splash in the social media.
“Swedes simply do it with more style,” one tweeted, linking to the clip.