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A new sexual health emoji set includes sexual health as a normal part of the conversation and takes away the awkwardness

A sexual health emoji set will eliminate the embarrassment around sexual health and make it easy to communicate in a natural and fun way.

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Tell us about your vision for this project: Share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years

By 2022, we aim to encourage an open and natural communication around sexual and reproductive health topics, free from shame and embarrassment, in order to allow young people to make an informed decision about their own health.

Who will implement this idea? Or what’s your strategy to implement in the next 6-18 months?

This idea will be supported by a creative director (part-time), who pulls the strings to keep the project on track, a part-time designer, a part-time sex educator and web application. The project will be implemented in the UK first, which means a collaboration with schools around London will take place. The web application developer will work on this project full-time to make sure that the technical implementation of the emojis will happen as fast as possible. 1. Collaboration with a sex educator 2. Workshop at schools 3. Technical implementation of the emojis 4. Emoji testing at schools 5. Iterating -> Please see expert question 1

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

The feedback from the experts was challenging and extremely helpful. It supported us to think one step further of where we could go with this concept. The community offered us potential collaboration which is just amazing. We are happy that this playful approach to communicating about sexual health is appreciated by the experts and the community. Due to the feedback, we did some sketches for additional emojis to create a proof of concept.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

We are currently two members. All team members are equal partners and make the big decisions as a team. We are a small and flexible team, therefore, we can react very agile to change. We are open for pivots if that supports the benefits for our target audience.

How long have you been working on the project?


What year was your organization or group started?


How many full time staff are needed to implement your idea?


What most attracted you to the UNFPA Young People's Sexual and Reproductive Health Challenge?

As adults, we sometimes accept things the way we were taught. We believe it is essential to change that. We want young people to be informed about their own bodies and their sexuality in order to make their own individual decisions. Young people can break the silence and bring change. We want to create positive impact and have an open dialogue about sexual and reproductive health to empower young people.

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Opportunity Areas – Select those that apply

  • mHealth
  • Data

What specific problem(s) are you trying to address? (300 character limit)

The key embarrassment of taboo issues like sexual health is that we don’t know how to talk about it. Problem formulation: -How can youth talk about STDs to educate themselves and others? -How can it be more acceptable to disclose and discuss? -How can youth get support if they have an STD?

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address? (500 character limit)

My primary research (master’s dissertation) focused on diverse people worldwide who are living with herpes in order to reduce the stigma around the lifelong STD and open up the communication. My unanswered questions are: - How can I use this research as groundwork and transform it for young adults and other STDs? - STDs in a digital world: How can young people learn to self-manage their sexual health in the future?

Who are your end users? (1000 character limit)

Not every individual has the same social, cultural, environmental preconditions. Therefore the end users are youth who cannot talk openly about sex and sexual health with their parents and social environment. They use their smartphone daily to communicate with their friends and they are familiar with chat apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat and so on. They want to talk about their sexual health questions but they don’t know how to start a conversation and which words to use. They also don’t have a visual language to support and explain what they want to say. They usually find help online, but they miss the part of a personal conversation.

Explain your idea. (500 character limit)

Are you looking for a suitable emoji to make your message complete? A set of specific sexual health emojis will help youth to communicate between each other. The emoji set makes is easier to explain symptoms and problems without embarrassment. By having a more visual conversation about sex it becomes normal and takes away the awkwardness. The emojis can be used between the youth in chat apps like Whatsapp, Snapchat etc. They can also be used by organisations to create awareness.

What is your value proposition? (500 character limit)

The created value is easy access for youth through their smartphone. The emojis encourage natural behaviour and don’t need extra efforts to use. Emojis are a visual language which young people are used to. This makes it uncomplicated and more fun to talk about sex related topics. The visual language adds a more comfortable way to express feelings and problems around sexual health.

What's different about your idea compared to current solutions? (500 character limit)

It’s much more accessible and engaging. It is personal and makes a scary topic to talk about more open. This idea is based on a visual language which can be integrated in every online communication tool which makes it adaptive and flexible in use. The emojis are sustainable and can be further developed and added depending on the need.

What are the key reasons why end users would turn to your organization over another?

  • Customization: Tailoring to specific needs

What would success look like for your end users? (500 character limit)

The major goal is that the adolescents and youth own their body. It is essential that they can make informed decisions about their own sexual health. My end users are confident enough to talk openly about topics related to sexual health because they are more comfortable through the new visual language. This solution creates a community where adolescents and youth can educate and help each other which ensures that the advice is more accepted.

How would you measure the impact your idea has on your end user(s) ? How will you measure the success of your program? (500 character limit)

The use and the context of the sexual health emojis can indicate if the idea is successful. It can also show which visual language works and which doesn’t. In order to measure the success, it would be interesting to measure the usage of the different emojis to make a vague conclusion on which topics are more discussed than others. Is there a trend in the usage of certain emojis depending on location, culture or other diverse factors? -> Please see expert question 5

What strategies will/are you testing to acquire end users? (300 character limit)

Going to schools and working with youth will let them create their own way of communication and be part of this project. This connects them to this new communication about sexual health and they are part it. -> Please see expert question 1

Key partnerships - Who will you partner with to make your idea work? (500 character limit)

The key partnership in this project are adolescents and youth themselves. They will have a major impact in the successful execution of this idea. Furthermore, schools, hospitals and sexual health centres will play an essential role as educators and promoters. -> Please see expert questions 2, 3 and 4

What is your organization’s name? (150 character limit)


Tell us more about you: (750 character limit)

Hi, I'm Stephanie, a User Experience Designer who believes in creating positive impact through personalised healthcare experiences. I finished my Master's degree in Communication Design and the Creative Economy at Kingston University London. I dedicate my time to diverse projects to improve healthcare with a design approach. My final research project aims to create a human-centred concept to tackle the stigma of the Herpes Simplex Virus. Herpes is a common but medically-ignored and culturally-stigmatised sexually transmitted infection (STI). I’m an ambassador of the FEMProject and Clue to raise awareness around menstrual and reproductive health. Get a glimpse of who I am and what I do:

Where will your idea be implemented? (200 character limit)

The sexual health emojis will be tested/implemented in the UK and other European countries. Every culture will require a specific visual language. If it's approved in Europe we expand further.

What do you need to get started? (500 character limit)

- A sex educator who is passionate about this projects and wants to prepare and facilitate the workshops with young people together - Schools who want to take part in this development - An app developer who is passionate about this project

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • It is still in planning phase and does not exist yet.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organization Location (200 character limit)

Based in London.

What is your organizational status?

  • We don't intend to register / don't need to in order to implement our idea successfully.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: I am exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.


Personal blog, Stephanie Batliner:
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Team (2)

Stephanie's profile
Manivasakan's profile
Manivasakan Jayaprakash

Role added on team:

"Hi, I’m Mani, a 24-year-old Digital Product Designer who loves to create usable and meaningful interfaces for people around the world and solve problems using design. I design for all digital interface. I have worked on more than 60+ mobile apps for clients all around the world. I’m still hungry to learn new techniques in the growing design world. This design competition is so challenging, that we must let people talk about taboos without any hesitation – in public and online."

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Attachments (3)


This study is written by me and discusses the socially constructed stigma around the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Herpes is a common but medically-ignored and culturally-stigmatised sexually transmitted infection (STI). The lack of understanding of the condition defines it as a taboo and fuels the shame, embarrassment and silence of those affected even though it is a health issue that involves three quarters of the population.


Statistics about emoji usage in the US

2015_UK's fastest growing language is... emoji.pdf

Information about emojis in the UK


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