AIDS group’s 70-foot, 18-wheel ‘Condom Nation’ big rig and companion Sprinter van continue national condom giveaway tour with stops in Kansas City, Missouri where free HIV testing will also be offered by local partner agency, Kansas City Free Clinic. Goal: 6 months, 25-states, 10 million free condoms
MEDIA AVAILABILITY—Free condom giveaway. AHF’s ‘Condom Nation’ 18-wheel semi truck continues six-month, 40-city, 25-state free condom tour; advocates to hand out free condoms and offer free HIV testing
WHEN & WHERE:
Thursday, May 24th 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Walgreens, 3845 Broadway Blvd. at the corner of Broadway Blvd and 39th Street. Partner agency: Kansas City Free Health Clinic
James Vellequette, Associate Director, AHF’s ‘Condom Nation Tour’
Tim Birdwell, HIV testing & Outreach Coordinator, Kansas City Free Health ClinicB-Roll
70-foot, 18-wheel ‘Condom Nation’ big-rig with condoms and safer sex education materials
ON THE ROAD:
James Vellequette, Associate Director, ‘Condom Nation’ Tour, (323) 573-3005 cell
Tim Birdwell, Kansas City Free Health Clinic, (816) 777-2781 cell
LOS ANGELES— Lori Yeghiayan Friedman, AHF Communications, (323) 377-4312 cell
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (May 24, 2012) 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 sweeps into Kansas City today—a stop on the ‘Condom Nation Tour’–a groundbreaking 25-state, 40-city, 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. ‘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. The group aims to conduct one thousand free HIV tests over the three days.
In Kansas City, AHF’s Condom Nation will partner with the Kansas City Free Health Clinic in a condom giveaway and free HIV testing event on Thursday, May 24th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm outside the Walgreens (3845 Broadway Blvd. at the corner of Broadway and 29th Street).
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 of 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, the Kansas City Free Health Clinic, our partner in Kansas City today.”
‘Condom Nation’ will:
- Partner with 40+ 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); Columbia, SC (May 4-5); Little Rock, AK (May 12); Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas (May 18-20); Kansas City, MO (May 24); Kansas City, KS (May 24); Chicago, IL (May 26-27); Detroit, MI (May 29); Toledo, OH (May 30); Asbury Park, NJ (June 1-3); Brooklyn NY (May 9); New York City, NY (June 17); Boston, MA, Providence, RI, Pittsburgh, PA, Columbus, OH, Cincinnati, OH, Indianapolis, IN, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Charlotte, NC, 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