Go ahead. Buy one. Don't be embarrassed.
Playful television advertisements in India featuring a talking parrot and a puppy named Condom are helping increase condom sales in the country, where AIDS is a growing problem, health experts said Friday.
The ads are intended to change the way people see condoms in the country, which remains deeply conservative when it comes to sexual issues.
"We wanted people to talk about them like any other health product without the negative judgment," said Yvonne MacPherson, India country director of BBC World Service Trust, which created the ad campaign and a now well-known ring tone that features singers chanting the word "condom" dozens of times.
The campaign has reached nearly 140 million adult men since the first ad was broadcast in early March and nearly 500,000 people have downloaded the ring tone to their mobile phones since it was launched in August, MacPherson said.
In the six months ending Sept. 30, condom sales across India grew by more than 85 million — or 5 percent — from the same period last year, said K. Sujatha Rao, head of India's National AIDS Control Organization.
Nearly 2.5 million people in India are infected with HIV, the AIDS virus, but talking about the disease and sexual health issues in general is still largely taboo.