NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials announced a new campaign Friday to promote New York City's condom giveaway program, which distributes tens of millions of condoms annually in an effort to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
"We have successfully wrapped this city in high-quality latex," city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said at a news conference at the Museum of Sex.
The new condom campaign will include subway ads and social media ads with the message, "Be sexy, be safe."
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the assistant health commissioner in charge of HIV prevention programs, said the department was announcing the campaign at the Museum of Sex in order to make the point that sexual pleasure and disease prevention are not mutually exclusive.
"The story of sexual satisfaction and happiness and health is not different from the story of HIV, STD and pregnancy prevention," Daskalakis said. "It is not a separate story, it is one story."
New York City began distributing free condoms in 1971 and introduced the nation's first municipally branded condom in 2007.
Bassett said the city gave out 37 million free condoms at 3,500 locations including clinics, community centers, bars and restaurants in 2014.
After getting feedback from surveys, the city introduced a larger-sized condom called NYC KYNG last year.
"We listened," Daskalakis said. "My joke is, New York is a big city. They need a bigger condom."
Department officials said the condom program has helped to drive down the rates of both HIV infection and teen pregnancy.
Health Department statistics show that new HIV diagnoses and AIDS-related deaths have fallen every year since the mid-1990s.
There were 2,832 people newly diagnosed with HIV in the city in 2013, compared with 5,852 in 2001.
Teen pregnancy rates dropped 30 percent between 2001 and 2011, from 98.7 pregnancies per 1,000 females to 69.2 pregnancies per 1,000 females.