Health Department Celebrates LGBT Pride Month With #PlaySure HIV/AIDS Awareness Media Campaign

Campaign promotes the #PlaySure kit – an innovative, safer sex kit

Nearly 30,000 kits have been distributed since Valentine’s Day


June 2, 2016 – In recognition of LGBT Pride Month, the Health Department today announced the launch of an updated #PlaySure media campaign to promote the popular #PlaySure kit. The kits are just one component of the City’s efforts to effectively end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The NYC Plan to End the Epidemic includes a $23 million investment in Fiscal Year 2017 to increase HIV prevention and health care programming that will benefit nearly 200,000 New Yorkers per year when fully implemented. The plan aims to reduce the annual number of new HIV infections in New York City to 600 by 2020 as part of a statewide goal of no more than 750 cases per year by 2020. As part of this plan, the Health Department announced an increase in STD clinic hours earlier this year. The new ad campaign will be displayed on subway turnstiles, MTA buses, and online.

“#PlaySure kits are one of many efforts we are promoting throughout New York City as a tool people can use to have safe sex,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio. “We are making historic investments to fight the AIDS epidemic, and ensure those living with HIV/ AIDS have access to quality healthcare and affordable housing. Together, we will decrease the number of those affected by HIV/ AIDS, and there is no place where that message is more meaningful than at Pride.”  

“The #PlaySure kit is a classy way all New Yorkers can play safe and be sure,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “This month, we not only continue our efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but also come together to celebrate Pride with our LGBT friends and family. We remind all New Yorkers to take advantage of the free tools the Health Department offers so everyone can live healthier lives.”

The #PlaySure kit is an innovate safer sex tool that holds everything New Yorkers need to #PlaySure – the kit can hold condoms, lubricant, and the prevention pill of a person’s choice (e.g., PrEP , HIV medications, and/or birth control). The goal is to allow users to design a safer sex kit that fits their lifestyle and needs. The #PlaySure kit was originally unveiled on World AIDS Day. #PlaySure kits are available for free at participating community organizations and at many community events throughout the year, including all borough Pride events. Locations are also available by calling 311.

“The #PlaySure kit was developed based on a prevention pack carried by one of my young patients living with HIV.  He carried a small zipper case with condoms, lubricant, and his HIV medications so he would always be sure to have his prevention plan at hand.  His strategy of combination prevention is exactly the #PlaySure message,” said Assistant Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis. “New Yorkers are one of a kind.  It’s only natural that their HIV prevention strategy should be a custom fit for their lives.  NYC Condoms, lubricant, and PrEP or HIV treatment are a winning strategy to end the epidemic of HIV, NYC style”.

“By ensuring access to condoms and preventative drugs like PrEP, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's #PlaySure kits are making it possible for New York City's LGBTQ youth – particularly those of color – to engage in stigma-free safe sex while bringing down the rate of new HIV infections. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and DOHMH for their unprecedented commitment to ending NYC's AIDS epidemic and cannot think of a more fitting way to ring in this year's Pride Month,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman.

“Helping New Yorkers stay safe while they’re having fun is a good thing,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health. “The innovative ‘Play Sure’ safer sex kits are a welcome new initiative in the de Blasio administration’s HIV prevention efforts and will help realize the ambitious goal of effectively ending the AIDS epidemic in New York City."

In December 2015, the Health Department launched #PlaySure – a new, innovative, HIV and STI prevention campaign. The Health Department is updating the campaign to include the #PlaySure kit in its advertising. The goal of this sex-positive campaign is to reach all New Yorkers where they are and allow them to choose the HIV and STI prevention tools that work for them, regardless of their HIV status. More than a kit, the #PlaySure kit is a physical representation of NYC’s combination prevention message.  Using all elements of the HIV prevention tool kit allows New Yorkers to be confident in their decisions and freedom to enjoy their sexuality.  Pre-exposure prophylaxis (known as PrEP), HIV treatment, and the NYC Condom together create a toolkit for HIV prevention and promoting sexual health. To #PlaySure means to set aside fear, and replace it with communication, honesty, and the tools we know can stop HIV and other STIs.

As it has done for the last several years, the Health Department will be participating in Pride events in all five boroughs. Health Department staff members will be distributing safer sex products (NYC Condoms, lubricant, and limited edition #PlaySure kits), along with health literature and other promotional materials. For the second year in a row, the agency will have a float at the NYC Pride parade in Manhattan. Staff members will be marching along the parade route handing out NYC Condoms, #PlaySure kits, and other materials. Below are scheduled NYC Pride events:

June
5th – Queens Pride
6th – National HIV/AIDS Long-Term Survivor Awareness Day
11th – Brooklyn Pride
19th – Folsom Street East Street Festival
25th – Harlem Pride
26th – Manhattan Fest and the Pride Parade

July
16th – Staten Island Pride
TBA – Bronx Pride

NYC Condom
In 2015, the Health Department and its partners distributed more than 38 million male and female condoms at 3,500 diverse locations in New York City, including bars, clubs, restaurants, nail salons, barber shops, hospitals, clinics and community based organizations. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancies and offer effective protection against most sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. The City’s effort to increase the availability of condoms has contributed to citywide declines in teen pregnancy rates, STI rates, and HIV rates.

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.


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MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Christopher Miller/Julien Martinez: pressoffice@health.nyc.gov