Maralis Mercado, MPH, is the program coordinator for health and wellness at Duke University. Duke partnered with Say It With A Condom to create a unique campaign that easily allows students to start a conversation surrounding sexual health and well-being. What she had to say about the impact the campaign had was remarkable and a testament to the power of thinking outside the box in order to get your message across.


How does Duke University support the student body in approaching a controversial topic such as sexual health?

Duke University takes part in National Coming Out Day, which is on October 11th of every year. The Center for Sexual Gender and Diversity along with other supporting offices have tables set up on campus to hand out information regarding sexual health to students. This past year, Say It With A Condom was able to provide their brand of clever condoms, Funny Condoms™, to the University for our event.

Mercado says, “the condoms were a huge hit, and students came to these tables specifically for them.” What better way to raise awareness and get your message out?


How else does Duke University engage in actively promoting sexual health throughout the year?

Students at this school are actively engaged in promoting sexual health. Student run organizations hold tabling events throughout the semester. Other than that, a lot of the communication is through posters, flyers, and word-of-mouth.


Why do you think Funny Condoms™ resonated with the students so well?

A different vehicle to get sexual health messages out.The condoms tend to be creative and funny, which is always very popular with the students. Who doesn’t want a good laugh?


Why were condoms so effective for this campaign at Duke University?

Condoms allow people to be given a direct solution to many sexual health issues.The creative slogans and packaging share the message in a way that allows people to think about the topic in ways they may not have before.


How have these campaigns helped bring a positive light to this college campus?

It’s great seeing people ask questions that they were once afraid to ask. It is about becoming more comfortable with yourself and taking control of your own sexual values.


How can we proceed from here and raise awareness for sexual health on a larger scale?

Communication is definitely key in approaching this issue. I’d love to see parents being more comfortable having conversations with their children about sex and everything surrounding it.

One Sexy Week is another program run by Duke. It has a similar set-up to that of National Coming Out Day. Say It With A Condom was able to partner with Duke University oOn that campaign as well to successfully hand out condoms during the event. Say It With A Condom was created with the intention of giving people the medium to start a conversation, and that is exactly what Maralis Mercado said when we asked her why custom condoms were so effective with her students. She realizes the importance of being able to communicate openly about sexual health.