New York City to Launch an Official City Condom, With Possible Subway Theme
January 26, 2007
New York City is branding its own line of condoms as part of the Bloomberg administration's strategy to reduce rates of HIV and other STDs. One proposed packaging idea is a subway theme, with maps and colors of the different lines printed on the wrappers. "Brands work, and people use branded items more than they use non-branded items, whether it's a cola or a medicine even," said Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden. "Brands add value and they increase use."
The city distributes 18 million free condoms a year. Under a deal with the maker of Lifestyles brand, the condoms cost the city just $720,000 annually. Through an online ordering system, organizations get condoms to pass out at various venues. By comparison, Los Angeles gives out just over a million condoms per year, said Peter Kerndt, director of the STD program at the Los Angeles County Health Department.
City officials plan to evaluate the impact of the branded condoms through their annual telephone survey of 10,000 New Yorkers. "We ask, 'Did you use a condom the last time you had sex?' And once this is launched, the next time we ask that question, of those people who say yes, we'll say, 'What did the wrapper look like?'" said Frieden. "And if they describe our wrapper, then we'll know that they would have used our condom."
The widespread distribution of city condoms began when Frieden took office in 2002 and discovered that the city's STD clinics were limiting the number of condoms patients could get. Though city officials do not yet have their own data on the effectiveness of the free condom program, health experts say large-scale distribution is a crucial public health service.
01.25.2007; Sara Kugler
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.