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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 010-06
Monday, February 13, 2006

DOHMH - MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290; (212) 788-3058 (After Hours)
Sandra Mullin (smullin@health.nyc.gov);
Andrew Tucker (atucker@health.nyc.gov);
Eric Riley (eriley1@health.nyc.gov)


BRING YOUR OWN CONDOM ON VALENTINE’S DAY!

Health Department Distributing 1 Million Condoms per Month

NEW YORK CITY – February 13, 2006 – To mark National Condom Day (February 14), City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden reminds all sexually active New Yorkers to get tested for HIV and to practice safer sex by using latex condoms. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) also announced that it has been distributing 1 million condoms per month (more than 9 million condoms in total) to community and social service organizations through a web-based Free Condom Initiative (nyc.gov/health/condoms) that began in June 2005. The DOHMH is currently developing a condom with unique packaging, to be released in coming months.

“A condom can save your life,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. “An estimated 20,000 New Yorkers living with HIV are unaware that they are infected, and many thousands are at risk for getting or spreading HIV through unprotected sex. Getting tested is free, confidential and anonymous. Every sexually active New Yorker should know their HIV status and do their part to stop HIV in New York.”

“Too many New Yorkers are dying early from HIV/AIDS,” said Scott Kellerman, MD - DOHMH's Assistant Commissioner for HIV Prevention and Control. “It's not a coincidence that National Condom Day is on Valentine's Day each year. It's an important reminder that having fun and having safer sex are not mutually exclusive. New Yorkers should use a condom every time they have sex.”

The Health Department reminds all New Yorkers:

  • • Get tested for HIV. If you have ever been sexually active or injected drugs, knowing your HIV status will help you live longer and healthier, and will also help you protect your partners.
  • • Always use latex or plastic (polyurethane) condoms properly every time you have sex, especially if you have multiple sex partners or are otherwise at high risk for HIV.
  • • Always practice safer sex, whether you have HIV or not.
  • • Knowing your HIV status can save your baby's life. Know your HIV status if you're pregnant or planning pregnancy. Without medication, a mother can pass HIV to her baby. But if you have HIV and get medication, you can improve your own health and greatly reduce the chance that your baby will get infected.
  • • Testing is not a substitute for safer sex!

There are more than 100,000 New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. In 2004:

Know Your HIV Status - A "Take Care New York " Priority

Knowing your HIV status is one of top ten priorities of Take Care New York - the City's comprehensive health policy. While HIV/AIDS deaths have declined greatly in the past 10 years, the disease remains the seventh leading cause of death among all New Yorkers. DOHMH's 10 STD clinics, located in each of the five boroughs, provide free rapid HIV tests on a walk-in basis regardless of immigration status. Further information is available by calling 311, visiting nyc.gov/health or from your medical provider.

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DOHMH Free Condom Initiative
DOHMH Free and Confidential STD Clinics
Be Informed About AIDS
DOHMH's HIV Epidemiology Report (2006 Q1) (PDF)
Take Care New York Priority: Know Your HIV Status