The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) conceptualized International Condom Day in 2009.
Since then, International Condom Day is informally observed globally in conjunction with Valentine’s Day. The observance seeks to promote condom use to reduce the transmission of HIV and AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. On February 9 th 2018, AHF partnered with its local affiliate the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) to plan, coordinate and implement a local arm of their international initiative.
The 2018 theme of International Condom Day is “Always in Fashion”. Trinidad and Tobago, was in the midst of its acclaimed carnival season which is also noted as one of the most sexually charged periods on the island; offering surplus opportunities for risky sexual behaviours across the population. The timeline of both celebrations presented an opportune time to execute a culturally appropriate social marketing campaign.
With event planning efforts from members of the East Yard team, FPATT staff, board members and volunteers started the event using a Pied Piper approach. The team used a 40ft music truck outfitted with an incredible music system, pumping 2018’s Carnival’s soca favorites and moved through the most popular streets of Arima. Team members adorned in their bright yellow t-shirts flooded the streets and the truck and engaged members of the public; inviting them to come with us and we distributed paraphernalia and condoms.
The music truck drew a large crowd and led them back to the main site where a host of performances with messages around condom use and safe sex awaited. Some of these performances included “Two-Cent Movement” spoken word performance, a fashion show inspired by condom use and a guest performance from Farmer Nappy. Subtlety couched within this masquerade was the promotion and uptake of HIV testing, interactive education sessions that informed attendees about HIV and AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections and simulated exercises that promote proper condom use.
At the end of the day, the community of Arima fully interacted with the FPATT team and we were able to provide much needed information and HIV testing services to the people of the area.