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The UFC’s HIV Awareness Campaign Is Seriously Called ‘Protect Yourself at All Times’

(I suppose that would make Forrest’s loss to Anderson Silva a regrettable night of unprotected blackout sex in a truck-stop bathroom. / Image via OutSports)

The UFC has announced plans for a campaign to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS, particularly among high-risk groups. Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole spoke with UFC chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein about the campaign recently.

“The Center for Disease Control & Prevention said the awareness about HIV and AIDS among those under 35 is surprisingly poor. Given that the UFC’s strength is with the 18-to-34-year-old demographic, chief operating officer Ike Lawrence Epstein felt it was natural for the company to team with the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada to promote the Protect Yourself at all Times, campaign,” Iole reported.

Yes, that’s really the name of the campaign. We’ll get back to that in a moment.

According to the story, half of all new HIV cases in the last two years have been reported in people under the age of 30. The 18-34 demographic is certainly the UFC’s sweet spot so it makes a lot of sense for them to help out with awareness-building efforts.

The promotion partnering with organizations in the LBGTQ is also a great move. We always hear about the post-fight screenings that UFC fighters must take for PEDs and drugs of abuse, but they all also have to be tested for HIV, which gives spokespeople for the new campaign, including Forrest Griffin, a personal angle to talk about the issue:

“I had 15 fights in the UFC Octagon during my career, and before each and every one of them, I had an HIV test,” Griffin said. ”I’m encouraging everybody to show themselves and their partners the same respect I showed my opponents by getting tested and protecting themselves at all times.”

Alright, back to that campaign name and slogan. It’s catchy, pertinent and logical.

Still, it’s kind of hilarious, right? As our editor Ben Goldstein put it, protect yourself at all times in the context of safe sex “makes me picture Herb Dean hovering next to my bed, waiting to jump in and hand me a condom.”

Come to think of it, that would be pretty useful. Wonder what that would cost…

In any case, props to the UFC for working on this issue. We hope it makes a difference.

Now it’s your turn, ‘Taters: Is the phrase “Protect Yourself at All Times” too unintentionally funny as an HIV awareness slogan? And what disturbing/excellent image does it bring to your minds in this context?

- Elias Cepeda

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