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Press Release

NYC Condom Gets a New Page for Valentine's Day

Site Users Can Send E-Condoms as Gifts

February 11, 2009

This Valentine's Day, become a fan of the NYC Condom -- on Facebook. By visiting the new page, New Yorkers send e-condoms to their friends, spread the word about safe sex and link to information on where to find condoms. The Health Department will also host a virtual event on Facebook, where New Yorkers can say they will use a condom and invite their friends to do the same. Send an NYC e-condom

The new page is the latest phase in a campaign that started in 2007, when New York City launched the nation's first branded city condom. Monthly distribution at clinics, clubs, salons and other venues has since doubled, reaching more than 3 million condoms per month. Together, the Health Department and its numerous community partners have distributed some 70 million NYC Condoms since the launch.

Last year industrial designer Yves Behar, founder of the San Francisco-based fuseproject firm, gave the condom a fresh look with a new wrapper and a sleek dispenser, which won an International Design Excellence Award from Business Week and the Industrial Designers Society of America. It also won a 2008 Spark Award.

"By using Facebook, we can help millions of people spread the word about condoms," said Dr. Monica Sweeney, the Health Department's assistant commissioner for HIV prevention and control. "Condoms protect against contracting HIV and other STDs when used correctly and consistently. They also prevent unintended pregnancy. We encourage New Yorkers to stay safe on Valentine's Day -- and everyday -- by using condoms."

Facebook has an even stronger following in New York City than in the country as a whole, according to usage surveys. And STD information is one of the city's top 10 Internet search topics.

Despite recent gains in condom awareness, HIV and other STDs are prevalent in New York City. Approximately 14 New Yorkers are newly infected with HIV every day, while 30 New Yorkers contract gonorrhea and 160 contract Chlamydia. The Health Department promotes testing and treatment to control these infections, but partner reduction and consistent condom use are the surest ways to reduce the risk.

How to Use a Condom Correctly

  • Use a new condom for each sex act.
  • Put the condom on when the penis is erect, before sexual contact occurs. Unroll it all the way down.
  • Leave a half-inch at the tip to collect semen. Squeeze out any extra air.
  • If you accidentally put on a condom the wrong way, discard it and use a new one.
  • Use a water-based lubricant (e.g., K-Y jelly, Astroglide, Kama Sutra, Liquid Silk).
  • After sex, pull out before the penis softens. Hold the base of the condom to make sure its contents do not spill.
  • Dispose of the condom. NYC Condom

Condoms should always be stored at room temperature, and latex condoms should be protected from prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, moisture, direct sunlight and fluorescent light. Don't carry condoms in your wallet or car for too long -- this can make them break easily -- and always check expiration dates before using them.

New Yorkers can visit to find establishments that offer free NYC condoms every day.

How to Protect Yourself and Others From HIV and Other STDs

  • Have one partner in a mutually exclusive relationship.
  • Reduce the number of people you have sex with. More partners mean more risk.
  • Use condoms every time you have sex.
  • Avoid using alcohol and drugs before you have sex. You're less likely to use a condom if your judgment is impaired.
  • Know your HIV status. If you have ever had sex or injected drugs (even once), get tested for HIV. If you have any potential exposure to HIV, such as unprotected sex, you should be tested at least once a year. Having an untreated STD can make it easier to get or spread HIV. To find out where to get a free HIV test, visit or call 311.

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This article was provided by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Visit the NYC Health website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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