8 Celebs Who've Got Real About STIs
One even cannon-fired personalised condoms into crowds on her music tour...
A lot of people find talking about STIs mega-awkward, but if we spoke more about them it would totally help us get rid of some of the stigma and embarrassment attached, and actually protect more people from contracting them. With knowledge comes power, obvs.
Watch Olly Alexander talk about how LGBTQ+ sex ed could have changed his life...
Loads of amazing celebs are on it though, and use their powerful positions to bring up the importance of safe sex in the best ways to encourage people to stop being so cringed out and actually start those vital convos. Here are just a few of them...
Rihanna’s done loads to raise awareness about HIV, including fronting MAC’s Viva Glam campaign to help fight HIV around the world, which (btw) she brought in a whopping $50 MILLION for. Talking about it on Good Morning America in 2014 she told fans, “I love having fun, but you have to be responsible. You have to be safe. Protect yourself. You have to look out for yourself because nobody else can do that for you... It’s a real disease.”
Oh, and she also took a public HIV test on World AIDS Day in 2016 with Brit royal Prince Harry to encourage everyone to know their status, cos she’s a literal queen.
Zara’s no stranger to the topic of safe sex. A couple of years ago, she posted a viral pic to Instagram of her whole leg inside a condom to tell guys using the ‘my-dick-is-too-big-for-condoms’ excuse for not wearing one to “TAKE A SEAT.”
This year she’s the face of a new condom campaign with Durex and AIDS charity RED that’s raising money to give young women in South Africa the education and access to sexual health services they need to protect themselves from HIV. Proceeds from the (Durex)RED condom will be going to the cause. The message? ‘Have sex and save lives’... is this a trick?! We’re in.
Lady Gaga’s never been one to shy away from big issues, and big entrances. In 2011, she appeared on Good Morning America in a shiny, pink, condom-inspired costume to promote safe sex. In the interview she described how important it is to start conversations about sex: “I want to get people started at home at a younger age with their children, talking about HIV, talking about AIDS, talking about safe sex.”
Gaga deffo practises what she preaches too, telling Grazia magazine in 2011 that she has “never not had safe sex. I have always asked a guy to be tested and to use protection, which was always my rule. Otherwise you're playing Russian roulette."
In a 2014 YouTube video called ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’, Troye lay down the facts about HIV and AIDS because he’d realised after watching movies centred around HIV/AIDS plotlines that he didn’t know anything about either, despite being well educated and gay (often a key population at risk of contracting HIV).
After teaching his followers his new-found knowledge, he said: “I care about all of you guys and I just want you to practise safe sex... Be safe, inform yourself and others, have fun most importantly... you know what I’m sayin’...” *Cue eyebrow theatrics*
Ke$ha has always been an open advocate of safe sex. Back in 2011, she teamed up with LifeStyle Condoms and had her face along with the word ‘cannibal’ printed onto 10,000 condom wrappers, which were then fired from confetti cannons during her tour.
Basically she sent out a loud and clear message that safe sex is a must, even for party girls!
Ella is the MTV Staying Alive Foundation (our HIV-prevention charity) ambassador this year, and she’s already smashing it. She not only starred in our Staying Alive fairground-themed PSA, but she designed an exclusive rainbow-packaged Kiehl’s product in time for Pride to raise money for our projects.
“MTV Staying Alive supports a number of LGBTQ+-focused projects as it is a community at increased risk of HIV infection,” Ella explained about her product at the time. “To me it made sense to bring together all the fun and colour of Pride but also keep a strong message that this is a community that we should all support.” Yaas, Ella.
After accidentally dropping his condom on the red carpet at the 2012 premiere for The Lorax while handing someone something out of a pocket, Zac swivelled around for an omgno laugh before gathering his composure and styling it out, turning back to pose for the cameras.
The incident didn’t go unnoticed though, as he was asked about it in a Today interview. Zac didn’t appear too phased, seeing the funny side: “I never really had a pocket-checking policy prior to going on the red carpet before, but now we’ve fully instated one.” Then he added with a smile that his condom-carrying was a “great message to add to the many messages in the film.” We. Love. You. Zac.
Another one of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s previous ambassadors, Tinie Tempah has proved he’s passionate about spreading the safe sex message too. “This,” he said holding up a condom in his campaign vid, “could save your life.
"There's so much stigma about talking about sex. The most important thing is before you do it – wear a jimmy. I know what it's like in the heat of the moment, but stop and think. It only takes two seconds to say, 'Have you got a condom?'" Preach!