October 1, 2012 – The Health Department today launched a subway campaign that reminds women to use a condom every time they have sex to help prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. More than 110,000 New York City residents are living with HIV. Additionally, black and Hispanic women account for over 90% of all women living with HIV in the City. This campaign aims to empower women to take control of their sexual health by using a condom every time they have sex. The campaign also seeks to educate women about their risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and provide them with information about available resources such as free NYC Condoms and free testing services.
“HIV disproportionately affects black and Hispanic New Yorkers. In 2010, black and Hispanic women accounted for more than nine out of every ten women newly diagnosed with HIV in New York City,” said Dr. Monica Sweeney, assistant
commissioner for the Health Department’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control. “While it’s important to know your HIV status, getting tested does not equal prevention. Everyone who is having sex should take the necessary precautions to reduce their risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections.”
The ads show bold messages “My Body. My Risk. My Rules.” with models holding a NYC condom as they embrace their partners. Ads will run in subway squares for one month. They can also be seen in bus shelters, as well as hair and nail salons and online. The campaign posters feature a QR code that, when scanned, leads to the NYC Condom mobile website developed earlier this year. The site has been optimized for mobile phone screens, making it easier for New York City residents to access the condom use and sexual health information most pertinent to someone on the go.
HIV in New York City
An estimated 21% of HIV positive New York City residents are not aware of their status and could be unknowingly transmitting the virus to others. Among those who are newly diagnosed with HIV each year, nearly a fourth receive an AIDS diagnosis within one month of their HIV diagnosis, suggesting that they have gone undiagnosed for periods of a decade or more despite the damage to their own health and the risk to others.
How to Take Charge of Your Own Sexual Health
If you have ever had sex or have ever used injection drugs (even once), don’t assume that HIV is someone else’s problem. Everyone needs to be tested. In addition to getting tested, using a condom every time you have sex protects you and your partners from getting HIV and other STIs, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, and hepatitis B, and also reduces the risk of unintended pregnancies.
Any New York City resident can get a free HIV test at one of the Health Department’s Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or Tuberculosis (TB) clinics, regardless of immigration or insurance status. New York State law now requires nearly all medical facilities to offer a voluntary HIV test to everyone ages 13-64 receiving emergency, inpatient or outpatient primary care health services, with limited exceptions. If you are not offered an HIV test the next time you visit a primary health care provider, ask for the test. For more information about HIV testing in NYC, go to NYC.gov and search ‘hiv testing’ or call 311.
The Health Department offers free latex condoms at thousands of venues around New York City. Call 311 or go to NYC.gov (search: condoms) for more information. To find condoms closest to you, download the free NYC Condom Finder smartphone application, City residents with Android, Apple, BlackBerry or Windows smartphones can search for ‘NYC Condom’ in the respective app store on their device or log-on to facebook.com/NYCCondom for more information. The City also provides free lubricant, female (FC2) condoms, and male condoms in different sizes and styles.