February 13, 2015

Press Release # 009-15
Friday, February 13, 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Veronica Lewin/Levi Fishman: PressOffice@health.nyc.gov

Health Department Launches New Ad Campaign to Promote Condom Use

New ads in English and Spanish encourage New Yorkers to “be sexy, be safe” with NYC Condoms

Nearly 90 percent of respondents to recent surveys indicated that they had picked up a NYC Condom at least once in their lifetime, either for themselves or for friends or family members.

February 13, 2015 – In recognition of National Condom Awareness Day and Valentine’s Day, the Health Department today launched a new advertising campaign encouraging New Yorkers to “be sexy" and "be safe” with NYC-branded condoms by LifeStyles®. Announced today at the Museum of Sex, in partnership with City Council Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson and several local organizations, the new campaign features ads in English and Spanish that introduce words to best describe the NYC Condom – Exciting, Great Fit, Strong, Easy Access, Fun, and Available. The campaign includes ads that will run on social media and in subway cars through April.

“Using condoms protects you and your partner against sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies. The protection provided by our NYC Condoms allows New Yorkers to enjoy happier and healthier sex lives,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “With our new NYC Condom campaign, the Health Department is proud to be a leader in promoting safer sex. This National Condom Awareness Day, we remind New Yorkers that they can be sexy and safe with our two free, high-quality branded LifeStyles® condom choices, including a newly-added design and a larger, KYNG-size option.”

“Sexual satisfaction and measures to prevent HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy are complementary, not contradictory,” said Assistant Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis. “With the launch of our new condom campaign and new, larger NYC KYNG condom, we are reminding New Yorkers that condoms should be in your prevention toolbox! With new ways to prevent HIV, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, and the high quality LifeStyles® condoms we distribute, every New Yorker can develop their own plan to Be HIV, STI, and Pregnancy Sure. We will continue to wrap the city in latex to keep it sexy and safe!”

“Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to remind New Yorkers to stay safe,” Said City Council Member and Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson. “There’s no better way to let someone know you care about them than by caring for their health. By using a condom you’re not only safeguarding your own health – you’re also looking out for your partner. New York City distributes millions of free condoms a year. We’ve got to continually remind people how important it is that they use them. I thank Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and the NYC Health Department for launching this important campaign.”

"Of all the public service campaigns we have executed in the last 20 years, our NYC Condom distribution for the NYC Health Department has been, by far, the most effective and meaningful”, said Alan Wolan, CEO of GoGORILLA Media. “There is no doubt in my mind that this program has had a dramatic impact on attitudes and behaviors regarding safer sex and open communication.”

The Health Department distributed more than 37 million free male condoms in 2014 at 3,500 diverse locations throughout 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.

Since its initial launch in 2007, the NYC Condom has continuously been in high demand. In summer 2013, the Health Department conducted more than 500 surveys with New York City residents to explore access, use and acceptability of the NYC Condom. Nearly 90 percent of all respondents indicated that they had picked up a NYC Condom at least once in their lifetime, either for themselves or for friends or family members. Almost three-quarters of respondents reported picking up a NYC Condom within the past year. Moreover, when given a choice of three condom wrapper designs, an overwhelming majority of respondents chose the newly added blue NYC Condom wrapper (72 percent). Respondents also indicated interest in a larger-sized NYC Condom, leading to the inclusion of the NYC KYNG Condom in 2014.

New York City’s condom initiative dates back to 1971, when the Health Department started distributing condoms through its STD clinics. The program expanded during the 1980s to include community-based service organizations and expanded again (by more than seven-fold) by mid-2005, when the Department launched a web-based ordering system to enable more groups and organizations to easily order NYC Condoms.

NYC Condom Timeline

  • 2007: NYC introduces the country’s first municipally-branded condom, the NYC Condom, a premium, lubricated LifeStyles® male condom with a distinctly “Gotham” wrapper.
  • 2008: Award-winning industrial designer Yves Behar creates a unique NYC Condom dispenser, which is placed in more than 220 high-volume distribution venues across the city.
  • 2009: Health Department leverages social media to reach an internet-savvy generation by launching the NYC Condom Facebook page, currently at 21,220 “likes” and growing.
  • 2010: Health Department holds first-ever NYC Condom wrapper design contest. More than 600 submissions and 15,000 online votes are cast, resulting in the development and distribution of a special, limited edition “Power Button” NYC Condom.
  • 2011: Health Department launches the NYC Condom Finder, a free GPS-enabled smartphone app designed to locate the five nearest NYC venues that distribute free safer sex products. To date, the application has been downloaded over 40,000 times.
  • 2012: Health Department develops the NYC Condom mobile website, providing users on-the-go with sexual health information optimized for mobile phone screens.
  • 2013: The Health Department hosts “NYC Condom—A Retrospective Exhibit” at NYU, featuring the social marketing and interactive digital media that have made the NYC Condom a unique and integral part of life in NYC.
  • 2014: The Health Department unveils the new NYC Condom wrapper design and new KYNG-size option.

Tips for Correct Condom Use 

  • Use a new condom for each sex act.
  • Put on the condom when the penis is erect, before sexual contact occurs. Unroll it all the way down.
  • Leave a half-inch at the tip to collect semen. Squeeze out any extra air.
  • If you accidentally put on a condom the wrong way, discard it and use a new one.
  • For latex condoms, use only water-based lubricants (e.g., K-Y jelly®, Astroglide®, Kama Sutra®, Liquid Silk®).
  • After sex, pull out before the penis softens. Hold the base of the condom to make sure its contents do not spill.
  • Dispose of the used condom by wrapping in tissue or toilet paper and throwing away in a trash can—never flush down the toilet.
  • Condoms should always be stored at room temperature (68-77oF or 20-25oC). Protect condoms from prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, moisture, direct sunlight and fluorescent light.
  • Don’t carry condoms in your wallet or car for an extended period of time – this can make them break easily – and always check expiration dates before using them.

To find one of the 3,500+ partner venues that offer 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, please visit facebook.com/NYCcondom.