America is not a sexually healthy nation. Here are
Each year America experiences 750,000 unintended teenage pregnancies (a)
19 million Americans are infected with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) each year
65 million Americans live with an incurable STI (c)
1 in 4 Americans will have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by age 25 (d)
Each year there are more than 1 billion acts of unprotected sex among single adults (e)
Yet, despite the proven effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing unintended pregnancy
(f) and the transmission of disease (g), Americans between the ages of 15 and 54 only use
them in about 25 percent of their sexual encounters (h)
(a) U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics: National and State
Trends and Trends by Ethnicity. The Guttmacher Institute, New York, September 2006.
Available at: www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/09/12/USTPstats.pdf. Finer LF, Henshaw SK.
Disparities in Rates of Unintended Pregnancy in the United States, 1994 and 2001.
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2006, 38(2):9096. Available at:
(b) source: Trends in Reportable Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States,
2005. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Accessed at cdc.gov/std/stats/05pdf/trends-2005.pdf.
(c) source: Cates W., Jr., et al. Estimates of the incidence and prevalence of sexually
transmitted diseases in the United States, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 1999,
(d) source: Alan Guttmacher Institute: The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the United States,
(e) source: RTI Health Solutions Condom Market Assessment Study, 2002
(f) source: Gallo MF, Grimes DA, Lopez LM, Schulz KF. Non-latex versus latex
male condoms for contraception. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Jan 25 --
(g) Holmes KK, Levine R, Weaver M. Effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually
transmitted infections. Bull World Health Organ. 2004 June
(h) source: RTI Health Solutions Condom Market Assessment Study, 2002
Evolve: Toward A Sexually Healthy America
The fact is, America is not a sexually healthy nation. How can we be, when our rates of
sexually transmitted infection, unintended pregnancy, and abortion are higher than in
virtually every other Western country?
Our problem isnt resourceswe have the most advanced health system in the
world, easy access to information, and effective, low-cost protection available at every
corner store. Whats keeping us from benefiting from these resources are our
attitudes about sexual health.
What is sexual health, anyway? It means understanding that everyone is sexual
by nature, taking care of your body, and being able to experience pleasure, satisfaction,
and intimacy when youre ready. And it means protecting and respecting yourself and
others. Being sexually healthy means enjoying your sexuality, both emotionally and
physically, throughout your life.
Thats where todays conflicted attitudes fail us.
Often, we promote ideology over informationsuch as when we deny people comprehensive
sex education in favor of abstinence-only programs even though government
studies show they dont work.1 Our television networks regularly put sexual content
in prime-time programming,2 but restrict or even forbid ads for condoms during those very
Worst of all, we continue to associate using condoms, or even just buying them, with
promiscuity and bad intentions. Single sexually-active Americans between the
ages of 18 and 54 use latex condoms only about one-quarter of the time,3 even though
theyve been proven effective at preventing pregnancy and helping stop the
transmission of disease.
Simply put, our attitudes need to evolve. We cant become sexually healthy until we
reframe the way we think and talk about sex and sexual health. If we fail in this,
well not only hurt ourselves, but also risk passing on our unhealthy
attitudesdepriving future generations of the healthy, fulfilling sex lives they
This challenging task begins with a simple message: Sex itself
isnt an unhealthy thing that needs to be policed or demonized; its a natural
expression of our humanity. Using protection consistently and correctly is a critical
component to managing ones sexual health.
Deciding to have sex with someone means asking yourself some heavy questions about trust,
intimacy, and shared responsibility. Our message is straightforward: the use of condoms is
a positive signal that partners respect one another.
Thats the conversation the makers of Trojan® Brand Condoms want to start in
America. Were not promoting sexual activity. We are promoting open, fact-based
dialogue among people who are having or considering having sex. The immediate goal of our
Evolve campaign is to reframe the way people think about carrying and using
condoms, but thats not all. We also have to wake people up to the idea that valuing
themselves means choosing partners who value them. It wont be easy, and it
wont happen overnight. But weve been part of Americas sex life for
generations. This journey is worth our time, and yours too.
(1) Impacts of Four Title V,
Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs: Final Report. Mathematica Policy
Research, Inc., April 2007. Accessed at http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs
(2) Sex on TV 4. Dale Kunkel, Ph.D., Keren Eyal, Ph.D., Keli
Finnerty, Erica Biely, & Ed Ward Donnerstein, Ph.D., University of Arizona, for the Henry J. Kaiser
Family Foundation, November, 2005. Accessed at http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/
(3) RTI Health Solutions Condom Market Assessment Study, 2002