Recognizing that sometimes love can’t wait, the New York City Health Department is making it quick and easy to find free condoms around the city. On Monday, the Health Department released a mobile phone application for finding a nearby distribution point.
“You all call it Valentine’s Day, we all call it National Condom Awareness Day,” said Monica Sweeney, the agency’s assistant commissioner for its Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control. “When the mind turns towards the heart, as in Valentine’s Day, it often ends up turning towards sex. Then you need our product.”
The app is designed to locate the five nearest venues that distribute official NYC Condoms in jazzy wrappers printed with colorful subway maps or other city themes.
People can manually enter addresses or use their phones’ GPS technology. The app provides the hours of operation for each location and directions by foot, car or public transportation. It also offers the types of safer sex products available, and helfpul tips on condom usage.
“The NYC Condom Finder is a useful tool to ensure that New Yorkers have access to free condoms wherever they are in the city,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner.
“Using a condom every time you have sex protects you and your partner from contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Condoms also prevent unintended pregnancy. We encourage New Yorkers to stay safe on Valentine’s Day – and everyday – by using condoms.”
There are just about 1,000 condom distribution locations throughout New York’s five boroughs that are currently accessible through the app.
New Yorkers can download the free application by searching for “NYC Condom Finder” in the iPhone App Store or the Android Market. The NYC Condom Facebook page will also have information about how to download the application.
“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 said in a statement.
The health department launched the condom finder app on Valentine’s Day. The app is the latest effort by the health department to promote condom use through its free condom distribution program.
The new initiative aims to keep up with the times, Sweeney said. Since 1971, New York’s health department has distributed free condoms, an effort that now includes 3,000 outposts throughout the city.
They’re available at restaurants, clubs, and other social gathering spots, not just health clinics. The city’s website has a comprehensive list of distribution points, but a mobile app is far more convenient.
“We don’t want not having access to be the barrier, we want condoms to be barrier,” Sweeney said. “What we’re doing is working to make New York City the safest city in the world to have sex.”
Approximately 14 New Yorkers are newly infected with HIV every day, while 30 New Yorkers contract gonorrhea and 160 contract Chlamydia, Sweeney said.
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.