Friday, February 16, 2007
Municipal Condoms Come to Town
NYC debuted its new line of municipal condoms on Wednesday of this week, just in time for that most romantic of holidays – National Condom Day! The Lifestyles brand condoms have been wrapped in packaging reminiscent of the subway system’s colors and lettering, and the tagline reads “We’ve got you covered” (wink, wink). City employees and volunteers handed out more that 150,000 of the free condoms in a massive launch campaign that was intended to get condoms into hands and conversations started.
Meanwhile, our nation’s capital was a day late and a dollar short. DC’s own municipal condom campaign was due to launch on Wednesday as well, but “internal complications” and that pesky snowstorm delayed the launch until today. DC’s condoms are wrapped in yellow and purple and the slogan is “Coming Together to Stop HIV.” Unfortunately, according to the Washington Post, the pun was not intended (come on, even if it wasn’t couldn’t they have just let people think it was? So much cooler that way). Although the Post seems critical of DC’s campaign as it compares to NYC’s, I’m really impressed with DC for stepping it up even this much. In a town where sex is almost always scandal and even the proprietress of the best local erotic boutique is afraid to reveal her name, a massive free-condom campaign is remarkably sex-positive.
As for the trend of municipal condoms, I hope it catches on. Clearly the current federal administration isn’t going to help, so for now it’s up to local communities to rally around HIV prevention and municipal condoms is a great, practical way to do that, as long as those condoms are accompanied by easy access to information. I hope more cities follow in the footsteps of DC and New York.
Can’t you just see Northampton with its own line of dental dams? And condoms, of course. With little rainbow Massachusettses on the packaging! Think Mayor Mary Clare Higgins would go for it?