Promoting condoms as a tool for family planning and HIV prevention in conservative, traditional societies like Mozambique and Indonesia should be a hard sell.
But social media and internet platforms have made it easier for young people around the world to access information, overcome cultural barriers, and engage in discussions that often sell condoms more as a lifestyle accoutrement than a prophylactic device. This was driven home to me one day when I sat down at a restaurant in Jakarta and was amazed to see a teenage girl sitting with her parents and wearing a DKT “Fiesta” condom foil strung on a necklace.
Amanda Borland, a sophomore at the University of Southern California, sits at her computer scrolling through a list of names. Suddenly she stops and clicks on a picture. “That is a random person I have never talked to,” she says. In an instant, Borland “unfriends” another Facebook contact. Borland originally added these people while running for student government in high school; now she sees no reason to keep them as friends.