New York City Health Department Developing Own Brand of Condom
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in a statement released on Monday announced plans to introduce its own brand of condoms, the New York Times reports. Sandra Mullin, a spokesperson for the department, said the project -- which will promote the condoms using "noticeable and memorable" packaging -- is an attempt to measure the effectiveness of a condom-distribution campaign that began last year. The health department has increased condom distribution during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration. The department in June 2005 introduced the "Free Condom Initiative" as part of an effort to reduce the prevalence rate of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, in the city, the Times reports. The Web-based program distributes condoms at no cost to community and social service organizations (Santora, New York Times, 2/14). "A condom can save your life. 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," Tom Frieden, New York City's health commissioner, said (Edozien, New York Post, 2/14). According to officials, more than one million condoms a month are distributed through the program. "We wanted to develop condom packaging... so that we can later track the effectiveness of our distribution," Mullin said of the proposed New York condom, adding, "We also aim to use the packaging to promote condom use and awareness." While health officials said the city does not intend to raise funds by selling the branded condoms, other details remain unclear. "This project is in the very early stages of development," Jordan Barowitz, a spokesperson for Bloomberg, said. There has been opposition to the "aggressive" promotion of condoms by government agencies, with some social conservatives and religious groups saying that it encourages promiscuity, according to the Times (New York Times, 2/14). The New York brand condoms are expected be available in four to six months, the Post reports (New York Post, 2/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.