Free condoms and HIV testing – Jackson area, April 13th – 14th
AIDS group’s 70-foot, 18-wheel ‘Condom Nation’ big rig and companion Sprinter van continue national condom giveaway tour with stops in Mississippi. Goal: 6 months, 25-states, 10 million free condoms!
By AIDS Healthcare Foundation
MEDIA AVAILABILITY—Free condom giveaway. AHF’s ‘Condom Nation’ 18-wheel semi truck continues six-month, 25-state free condom tour; advocates to hand out free condoms throughout Mississippi with local partners.
When & Where:
- Friday, April 13th 10:30am – 1:30pm Jackson State University, 1400 Lynch St Jackson, MS
- Friday, April 13th 2:00pm – 4:30pm OPPORTUNITY CENTER (Stewpot Community Services), 845 East Amite Street, Jackson, MS 39203
- Friday, April 13th 7:00pm – 9:30pm Tougaloo College, 500 West County Line Road, Tougaloo, MS 39174
- Saturday, April 14th 10:00am – 2:00pm Battlefield Park, 953 Porter Street, Jackson, MS
James Vellequette, Associate Director, AHF’s ‘Condom Nation Tour’
Marilyn Moering Watkins, DrPH (ABD), MPH, CHES, Executive Director,
Building Bridges, Inc.
70-foot, 18-wheel ‘Condom Nation’ big-rig with condoms and safer sex education materials; advocates with ‘cigarette girl’ style trays giving out ‘LOVE’ condoms
ON THE ROAD—
James Vellequette, Associate Director, ‘Condom Nation’ Tour, +1.323.573.3005 cell
Marilyn Moering Watkins, DrPH (ABD), MPH, CHES, Executive Director,
Building Bridges, Inc. (601) 927-4303
Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications, +1.323.791.5526 cell
AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) ‘Condom-Nation’ tour—AHF’s specially-designed 70-foot long, 18 wheel ‘Condom Nation’ big rig truck and a companion ‘Condom Nation’ Sprinter van rolls into Mississippi—the tenth location of the ‘Condom Nation Tour’–a groundbreaking 25-state, six-month nationwide tour to select cities, towns and states to hand out ten million free condoms and provide safer sex information in conjunction with local partners who are offering free HIV testing at many of the stops along the tour. ‘Condom Nation’ was launched from the famed Boardwalk in Venice Beach, California as part of AHF’s worldwide observation of International Condom Day—an informal holiday observed annually on February 13th in conjunction with Valentine’s Day.
In and around Jasckson, condom giveaway and events will take place in conjunction with the non-profit group Building Bridges, (headed by Marilyn Moering Watkins, DrPH (ABD), MPH, CHES, Executive Director of Building Bridges, Inc., Condom Nation’s local partner and who coordinated most of the Louisiana events), Jackson State University, The OPPORTUNITY CENTER of Stewpot Community Services and Tougaloo College.
The ‘Condom Nation’ big rig (and the similarly-wrapped, smaller ‘Condom Nation’ sprinter van) will conclude the U.S. tour in late July in Washington, DC, arriving just before the opening of the XIX International AIDS Conference in that city.
“Condom Nation is a serious, yet somewhat whimsical and creative effort by AIDS Healthcare Foundation to help promote increased condom use and to help make condoms more accessible and affordable,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Condoms are an essential part of preventing HIV and STDs. Not only are they extremely effective at preventing transmission, they are cheaper and easier to use than many other prevention tools. Our hope is that Condom Nation raises awareness and sparks conversations along the way—both on the coasts and in the heartland—about the importance condoms and the crucial role they play in disease prevention and safer sex.”
Currently, there are approximately 48,000 new HIV infections and 19 million new STD infections every year in the United States.
Unfortunately, few people have reliable and affordable access to condoms. Recent studies show that when condoms are available and reasonably priced or at no cost, more people use them as a protective measure against STDs, HIV and unwanted pregnancies. In addition, the average $1 retail price per condom is offset by a production cost of only $.04, leaving $.96 for profit. Retail priced condoms are simply too expensive for many people to afford and locations providing free condoms are often geographically distant from those who need them.
“In order to better protect the public health, we need universal access to condoms and they need to be available at an extremely low cost,” said James Vellequette, Associate Director for AHF’s ‘Condom Nation.’ “This tour is a national call to action to achieve these goals and we are delighted to be working with our Mississippi partners at free condom give-away events over the next week.”
‘Condom Nation’ will:
- Partner with 25+ local advocates in 25 states to distribute ten million free condoms
- Educate and raise awareness about safe sex practices
- Promote the use of condoms through education and advertising
- Spearhead a national advocacy campaign to lower the price of condoms
Condom Nation Cities
Some of the cities the Condom Nation Tour will visit include Venice, CA (2/13/12 tour launch); Oakland, CA (Feb 17); Las Vegas, NV (Feb 21-25, condom & testing events various nights with local partners: South Nevada Health District Office of AIDS, The Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada and The Sin City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence); Phoenix, AZ (Mar 1-2 with the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS); Albuquerque, NM (Mar 7th with New Mexico AIDS Services); Oklahoma City (Mar 9-11 with Guiding Light, Inc.) Ft. Worth, TX (Mar 13-14) Dallas, TX (Mar 15-16); San Antonio, TX (Mar 17-22) Houston, TX (Mar 22-24); Lafayette, LA (Mar 27 with Aspirations, Inc.) Baton Rouge, LA (Mar 28-31 with Aspirations, Inc.); Jackson, MS (April 13-14) Atlanta, GA (April 18-22, condom and testing with groups Citywide and ACT NOW!) Norfolk, VA, (April 23-28) St. Petersburg, FL; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Fayetteville, NC and other locations still to be worked out with the Condom Nation Tour culminating in Washington, DC on July 22, 2012—where AHF is also spearheading the ‘Keep the Promise’ on HIV/AIDS Treatment March on Washington on July 22nd.
According to a December 2011 HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the CDC reports that there are approximately 1.1 million people currently living with HIV/AIDS in the United States; an estimated 20% of these individuals do not even know they are infected. In addition, a new news posting published on February 15, 2012 on the website www.aidsmap.com reports that as many of half of all, “…new HIV transmissions in the US originate in individuals who are unaware that they are HIV-positive, a modelling study published in the online edition of AIDS estimates. Only 20% of HIV infections in the US are undiagnosed, but the investigators calculated that they were the source of 49% of all new onward transmissions.”