So this whole condom thing, it’s good public health policy. In an age where those in the White House preach an ineffective abstinence- only program, New York City is encouraging safe sex by distributing millions of free condoms to New Yorkers. Since people will always have sex anyway, those in charge may do their best to make sure it’s safe sex.
But then why is this city considering putting an end to this program? Well, for all the wrong reasons, it seems.
The Kaiser Network, in its daily HIV/AIDS report, notes that the subway-themed condom giveaway may be in danger:
New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden on Monday said that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene could discontinue a condom-distribution program if it is found that the program is not increasing safer-sex practices among high-risk groups…The health department in January approved a $1.57 million contract to deliver Ansell Healthcare’s Lifestyle condoms and packets of lubricants to organizations and venues in the city to help curb the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as to prevent unplanned pregnancies…
Frieden said that it is unclear whether the condoms are reaching target groups, such as men who have sex with men. “If we find launching this brand didn’t increase at all safe sex among the groups at highest risk, we may stop it entirely,” Frieden said.
So the Department of Health may end the promotion all together because they aren’t totally sure the condoms are reaching the intended targets? The logic behind this decision is completely backwards.
Right now, AIDS awareness efforts and other similar public health campaigns are neglected and underfunded. While the City has come under religious scrutiny for this program, the condom giveaway benefits everyone. It brings STD awareness and safe sex practices to the forefront, and we shouldn’t be giving up on it just because it’s not reaching the right population niche.
Refine the campaign, I say. If it’s supposed to target sexually active gay men, tailor the campaign in such a way to reach them. Don’t just throw in the towel because everyone wants to own a subway-themed condom, the greatest free novelty item produced by the City. Hopefully, these condoms will live another day.