In Recognition Of National Condom Awareness Day, Health Department Launches “ARTCondomNYC”
New, limited-edition series of four NYC Condom wrappers are designed by contemporary artists
Last year, the Health Department distributed over 30 million condoms in New York City
February 14, 2018 — In recognition of National Condom Awareness Day, the Health Department today launched ARTCondomNYC, a series of four, limited-edition NYC Condom wrappers designed by contemporary artists.
The first ARTCondomNYC wrapper, designed by artist and community advocate David John Attyah, was unveiled today at God’s Love We Deliver in the West Village. The remaining three condom wrappers will be released throughout 2018 and into early 2019. ARTCondomNYC aims to re-energize the conversation around and interest in condom use, a fundamental part of the sexual health toolkit. Since its debut in 2007, the NYC Condom continues to be in high demand. Last year, the Health Department distributed over 30 million condoms, and the NYC Condom Finder app, which locates free condoms across the city, has been downloaded more than 45,000 times since its launch in 2011.
ArtCondomNYC is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Ending the Epidemic plan, which includes $23 million annually to reduce the number of new HIV infections and ensure a strong STI prevention infrastructure. Last year, the City expanded clinical services and hours of operations at its Sexual Health Clinics. Anyone 12 years and older who wants testing for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis can receive these services at the clinics, even if they have no symptoms.
“With ARTCondomNYC, the Health Department is continuing its efforts to give New Yorkers the tools they need to have a healthy sex life,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “These condoms will not only spark conversations about sexual health, but also serve as another essential method to help end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and decrease the rate of STIs in this city.”
“Access to every tool in the sexual health toolkit is critical to maintaining a healthy and satisfying sex life,” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner for the Health Department’s Division of Disease Control. “The new ARTCondomNYC reminds us that even time-proven tools in that toolkit can be given a revamp.”
“Despite new advances in biomedical HIV prevention, condoms continue to be an essential component of our sexual health toolkit,” said Dr. Oni Blackstock, Assistant Commissioner for the Health Department’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control. “The Health Department remains committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to the tools they need to ensure a happy and healthy sex life.”
“I commend DOHMH Commissioner Bassett for launching ARTCondomNYC, which will serve as an additional tool in the fight against sexually transmitted infections including hepatitis, HIV, and syphilis,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “On National Condom Awareness Day, I urge all Brooklynites to take ownership of their sexual health by protecting themselves. These infections are preventable with increased awareness, preventive measures such as condoms and PrEP, and periodic testing.”
"Awareness and access to care are critical components in stopping the spread of STIs. By launching ARTCondomNYC, New York City has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging healthy, stigma-free lifestyles among New Yorkers, particularly men who have sex with other men,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “My thanks to Mayor de Blasio, DOHMH Commissioner Bassett, and Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Disease Control Daskalakis for their continued dedication to ending the epidemic and improving the health and well-being of all New Yorkers.”
“Condoms can help prevent sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies, and remain a critical tool in the fight against HIV and AIDS. As America’s cultural capital, it’s entirely fitting that New York is embracing contemporary art and design in its operation of the nation’s largest condom distribution program,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health.
“Collaborating with the Health Department on ARTCondomNYC brings together two things I’m passionate about and have made a lifetime commitment to: sexual wellness and human creativity – which, for me, come from the same source,” said David John Attyah, artist, community advocate, and designer of the first ARTCondomNYC wrapper. “The artists participating in ARTCondomNYC have been affected by or created art on behalf of all the communities the Health Department serves. Our goal is to supplement the already powerful activities of the public health community by introducing an unexpected artistic element to jumpstart condom use, reinvigorate conversations about our sexuality, and fortify our common sense of purpose and potential in getting creative and playing safe.”
“HAF-Queens Pride House is excited to participate in the upcoming release of ARTCondomNYC and be part of a citywide initiative to engage all communities and continue a safe dialogue on health education,” said Carlos M. Cubas, Coordinator of Community Engagement at Queens Pride House. “ARTCondomNYC is another step forward towards ending the epidemic by empowering people with the tools they need to protect themselves and others.”
“CAMBA is proud to support the ART of staying safe through the power of NYC Condoms,” said Yesenia Ramirez, Program Supervisor of NYC Condom Distribution at CAMBA.
“BOOM!Health is excited about ARTCondomNYC,” said Anthony Betancourt, Campaign Manager at BOOM!Health. “We strongly believe the initiative will serve as a platform to reinvigorate the conversation around condom use and awareness.”
“If there’s one thing to bank on – condoms work. Used correctly, they help protect against STIs and HIV. We are so proud of our NYC community. New York City is so artistic, even condoms are getting down with it!” said Adriana Pericchi, Director of Harm Reduction Services, Washington Heights Corner Project.
“NYC Health Department is a champion for sexual health through its long history of innovative condom distribution programs and community outreach efforts to advance health equity,” said Davin Wedel, founder and president of ONE® Condoms. “ONE believes combining art and community engagement inspires people to make healthy, informed decisions regarding their health. We’re honored to be collaborating with the NYC Health Department to increase conversations and reduce stigma around sexual health through the power of art.”
Sexual Health Clinics
The City’s eight Sexual Health Clinics operate Monday through Friday, with Saturday hours available at the Riverside and Fort Greene clinics. In addition, the Health Department launched several new programs to address sexual health at the clinics, including HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for people at high risk of HIV infection and the JumpstART program, which provides on-site anti-retroviral treatment and connection to care to patients newly diagnosed with HIV.
In December 2015, the Health Department launched PlaySure – a novel health marketing campaign to prevent HIV and other STIs, followed by StaySure in 2016. The goal of these sex-positive campaigns is to reach all New Yorkers and encourage them to choose their preferred tools to prevent HIV and other STIs, regardless of their HIV status. To complement these efforts, the Health Department developed the #PlaySure Kit, an innovative safer sex toolkit designed to hold everything New Yorkers need to play sure, such as condoms, lube, and prevention pills of choice (e.g., PrEP, PEP, or HIV medications). Over 148,000 kits have been distributed to New Yorkers since World AIDS Day 2015, when it was originally unveiled. The kit helps New Yorkers design a safer sex plan that fits their lifestyles and needs. #PlaySure Kits are available for free at the Sexual Health Clinics as well as participating community-based organizations and many community events throughout the year. Distribution locations are also available by calling 311.
The Health Department houses the largest condom distribution program in the United States. The program works to increase the availability, accessibility, and acceptability of condoms, lube, and other safer sex products, and provides technical assistance to other health departments and community-based organizations across the country. At a time when safe and effective HIV prevention options such as PrEP and PEP are more available than ever, consistent, correct use of condoms helps prevent STIs, including HIV, and unintended pregnancy.
The Health Department and its partners distribute safer sex products through 3,500 diverse locations in New York City, including bars, clubs, restaurants, nail salons, barber shops, hospitals, clinics, and community based organizations. To find free NYC Condoms, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/condoms. To learn more about condom use and sexual health or to download the free NYC Condom Finder app, please visit facebook.com/NYCcondom.