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Chicago Teens Promote Safe Sex

Larissa M. Tyler | 12/2/2015, 11:41 a.m.
It’s very inspiring when inner-city Chicago teens, who are currently living in a very challenging environment, get involved in something ...
High school students Daniel Mercado and Heaven Johnson and students from the Illinois Art Institute pass out condoms and other goodies at the Roosevelt Train Station.

It’s very inspiring when inner-city Chicago teens, who are currently living in a very challenging environment, get involved in something constructive and positive. It’s even more uplifting when their involvement is motivated by healthy living habits.

Well, in conjunction with Dec. 1st which is recognized internationally as World AIDS Day to educate and prevent the deadly disease, Chicago high school students in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Public Health, and the non-profit marketing agency, Serve, launched a provocative advertising and public education campaign, “Chicago Wears Condoms.” 

This is nearly a perfect blend of youth achieving something constructive, positive and healthy.

Heaven Johnson, a senior at Lindblom Math, speaks to the press as Mather student Daniel Mercado and Commissioner of Public Health, Julie Morita are in the back ground.

Heaven Johnson, a senior at Lindblom Math, speaks to the press as Mather student Daniel Mercado and Commissioner of Public Health, Julie Morita are in the back ground.

The concept was developed by high school youth who want to reduce the high rates of STIs, HIV/AIDS and Teen pregnancy in Chicago, along with volunteer advertising professionals from Serve.

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago youth rates of STIs are 2.5 times higher than the rest of the nation and the majority of STI diagnoses in Chicago are concentrated among adolescents and young adults. Those 13 to 24 years old accounted for 65% of gonorrhea cases and 70% of chlamydia cases.

 On Tuesday morning, Commissioner of Public Health, Dr. Julie Morita, high school youth and Serve marketing representatives presented the campaigns’ strategy and the urgent need for Chicagoans to wear condoms in order to reduce STIs and teen pregnancy across the city.

 The campaign plays on Chicago pride with the famous skyline draped in a condom using the colors of the Chicago flag and over the next month will be displayed on buses, billboards and train stations across the city. For more information visit: www.chicagowearscondoms.com

The logo for the campaign plays on Chicago pride with iconic buildings from the skyline draped in condoms, including the Willis Tower and the John Hancock. Some may call the design risqué, other will call it creative. But whatever the case, it’s definitely an attention grabber which is the first step to any successful campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to foster greater acceptance of condom use by Chicago's youth," explains Volunteer Serve Creative Director, Gary Mueller. "Using the city skyline as a moniker for safe sex, is a fun and sharable way to get kids’ attention and help turn them into advocates that promote the cause. Of course, kids handing our 20,000 condoms at city train stations wearing condom dresses doesn't hurt either."

 “We wanted to create a campaign to target youth in a positive way,” said Heaven Johnson, a senior at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, who was central to developing the concept.  “Youth want to hear solutions driven by our own ideas and experiences and Chicago Wears Condoms is our answer. We hope this campaign leads to an open and honest conversation.”