February 14, 2014 – In recognition of National Condom Awareness Day and Valentine’s Day, the Health Department today unveiled a new look and a new addition to the City’s NYC branded condoms. The Health Department distributes more than 38 million free condoms per year at 3,500 locations throughout New York City including bars, clubs, restaurants, nail salons, barber shops, as well as hospitals, clinics and community based organizations. The new NYC Condom wrapper will be blue and more prominently feature the LifeStyles® brand name to emphasize that they are the same high-quality LifeStyles® product available in stores. In addition, New Yorkers will now for the first time be able to choose the NYC “KYNG” Condom, an extra-large LifeStyles® condom branded with the NYC Condom logo. Both are currently in production and will be available throughout the city this summer.
When used correctly and consistently, condoms are approximately 98% effective in preventing unintended pregnancies and offer effective protection against most STDs, including HIV. The City’s effort to increase the availability of condoms has played a role in declines in teen pregnancy rates and STDs, including HIV. Since the release of the NYC branded condom in 2007, the Health Department has distributed almost 250 million male condoms. Last year, Health Department staff participated in over 600 community events and presentations, reaching more than 25,000 New Yorkers. At these events, Health Department staff received requests directly from the community for an “updated look” to the NYC Condom and for a larger sized NYC branded condom. The new condoms incorporate what communities have been asking for: an updated NYC Condom wrapper with a more prominent LifeStyles® brand and a larger sized condom option.
“The NYC Condom Program has been immensely successful in promoting and encouraging safer sex,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “We anticipate that New Yorkers will love the new look and appreciate the new size option. These high-quality condoms will help all New Yorkers protect themselves and their partners.”
“We are so proud to continue our work with the New York City Health Department, raising awareness for sexual health and providing the means for New Yorkers to stay protected with easily accessible condoms from one of the most trusted brands in the business,” said Carol Carrozza, VP of Sales & Marketing, North America for Ansell Healthcare, maker of LifeStyles® Condoms. “This year, we are pleased to expand options for users of the NYC Condom by providing both standard and large condom designs, as consumer studies consistently support the need for proper condom fit. The city has an impressive program inclusive of education and prevention, and we are honored to be a part of it.”
“We have been serving New York City’s homeless LGBTQ youth since 2002 and are committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments that include access to safer sex products. The Ali Forney Center is pleased to continue our strong partnership with the NYC Health Department. Collaborating with the NYC Condom Availability Program has allowed us to distribute thousands of condoms to NYC’s most vulnerable youth,” said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of The Ali Forney Center.
New York City’s condom initiative dates back to 1971, when the Health Department started distributing condoms through its STD clinics. The program expanded during the 1980s to include community-based service organizations and increased more than seven-fold by mid-2005, when the Department launched a web-based ordering system to enable more groups and organizations to easily order the NYC Condoms.
A timeline of NYC Condom campaigns:
- 2007: NYC introduced the country’s first municipally-branded condom, the NYC Condom, a premium, lubricated LifeStyles® male condom with a distinctly “Gotham” wrapper.
- 2008: A unique NYC Condom dispenser designed by award-winning industrial designer Yves Behar, and placed in over 220 high volume distribution venues across the five boroughs.
- 2009: The Health Department leveraged social media to reach an increasingly Internet-savvy generation by launching the NYC Condom Facebook page, currently with over 19,300 “likes” and growing.
- 2010: City holds first NYC Condom Wrapper Design Contest . Over 600 submissions and over 15,000 online votes were cast for the art work that culminated in the development and distribution of a special, limited edition Power Button NYC Condom (so popular and in demand that it is still in production).
- 2011: NYC Condom Finder developed and launched, a free GPS-enabled smartphone app designed to locate the five nearest NYC venues that distribute free safer sex products. To date, the application has been downloaded, across all platforms, 34,700 times.
- 2012: The NYC Condom mobile website is developed, providing users on-the-go with sexual health information optimized for mobile phone screens.
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.
- For latex condoms, use only water-based lubricants (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 used condom by wrapping in tissue or toilet paper and throwing away in a trash can—never flush down the toilet.
- Condoms should always be stored at room temperature (68-77oF or 20-25oC). Protect condoms from prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, moisture, direct sunlight and fluorescent light.
- Don’t carry condoms in your wallet or car for an extended period of time – this can make them break easily – and always check expiration dates before using them.
New Yorkers can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/condoms to find one of the 3,500+ partner venues that offer free NYC Condoms. They can also learn more about condom use and sexual health and how to download the free NYC Condom Finder at facebook.com/NYCcondom .