Next time you send an ‘open umbrella with raindrops’ emoji, be sure it is not for describing rain forecast of your city. In the absence of official safe sex emoji, Global sexual well-being brand Durex announced “Umbrella with Raindrops” as the unofficial safe sex emoji to mark the World Aids Day 2016. The significance of emojis in modern day communications is palpable. One smiley or emoticon can explain than the hundreds of words. On the occasion of Aids Day, one important topic needs quick attention regarding emoticons. Practicing safe sex is one of the most important ways to avoid getting HIV/AIDS. But a lack of official safe sex emoji i.e. condom symbol on messaging apps in the changing times is not helping the cause. Emoticon users have added ‘umbrella with raindrops’ to eggplant (representing penis) and peach (representing butt) in the list of sexual innuendos. ALSO READ: World AIDS Day 2016: Theme and objective of World AIDS Day 2016.

World Aids Day 2016, observed on December 1 annually to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. The first global health day started in 1988 to educate and create enough understanding about the deadly virus which has claimed more than 35 million lives worldwide. Around 34 million people are estimated to be infected by HIV making it one of the deadliest pandemics in the history of humankind. With no medicines or vaccine available so far, the health groups are forced to rely on ‘prevention is better than cure’ motto. ALSO READ: World AIDS Day 2016: History and importance of World AIDS Day.

Durex as a part of its #CondomEmoji campaign conducted a poll to choose the safe sex emoji. Talking about sex is still treated as a taboo which only leads to lack of knowledge. Talking about safe sex among the younger lot is important, and Durex tries to achieve the same with this campaign. As there is no condom symbol representing safe sex practice, the users voted in for some other choices as a fill in – umbrella with raindrops, a thick red circle, the red helmet with a cross, and the gift-wrapped heart.

With 23.3 percent of votes, umbrella with rain drops was adjudged the safe sex emoji. It was followed by the red circle (18.6%), the red helmet (16.7%), the gift-wrapped heart (13.3%), and a red balloon (10.4%). The campaign to select the safe sex emoji was conducted in a 3,500 people group from the UK, US, Brazil, China, India, and South Africa.