When: FRIDAY, May 24th 3 pm – 7 pm
Where: Benning Stoddert Recreation Center
100 Ridge Road SE
Washington, D.C. 20019
B-Roll: Custom-wrapped 18-wheel Condom Nation big rig and matching HIV testing van providing free condoms and testing
ON THE ROAD – Marco Benjamin, Condom Nation Program Manager, +1.347.577.2757 (mobile)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Anthony Thomas, Prevention Program and Outreach Manager, AHF Blair Underwood Healthcare Center, +1.202.293.8680 (clinic)
LOS ANGELES – Kyveli Diener, AHF Marketing & Communications Coordinator, +1.310.779.4796 (mobile) or +1.323.960.4846 (office)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 24, 2013) – The mobile condom distribution team that distributed 5.5 million condoms throughout the U.S. last year, Condom Nation – an initiative from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization – has launched their second U.S. tour and is arriving today in Washington, D.C.! Since the team’s 18-wheel, 72-foot custom-wrapped big rig and matching HIV testing sprinter van departed on a speedy cross-country cruise from California in March, Condom Nation has so far, in total, distributed nearly 600,000 free condoms and tested about 200 people for HIV at events in Texas, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, and Ohio.
The team’s specially decorated big rig and matching sprinter testing van will be parked at the Benning Stoddert Recreation Center on Ridge Road SE in the Nation’s Capital on May 24 from 3-7 pm, where Condom Nation representatives – including HIV advocate and Condom Nation Program Manager Marco Benjamin and Truck Manager Pat Ruiz – will hand out free condoms to the public. This is the group’s first of three stops in Washington, D.C., where free HIV testing using the bioLytical Laboratories’INSTITM Rapid HIV Test – which gives accurate results in just sixty seconds – at each event will be supported by staff from the AHF Blair Underwood Healthcare Center located near George Washington University at 2141 K Street NW, Suite #606.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 1.4 million cases of chlamydia were reported in 2011, and reporting of new gonorrhea cases saw its second consecutive year of increase with more than 300,000 new cases that year. These are just some of the estimated 20 million new STD cases reported annually, half of which occur in young people aged 15 -24. The CDC estimates the health care costs to the nation for treating these diseases – which are preventable through condom use – to be about $16 billion per year.
“Condom Nation is about access to condoms,” said Condom Nation Director James Vellequette. “Our goal is to make condoms easily and readily available for free or at a very minimal cost to those receiving them through our widespread, national, fun and motivated distribution efforts. Simultaneously, we need to eliminate the stigma around having condoms, carrying them, selling them, or best of all, giving them away so that everyone has access to them whenever they need them.”
The tour had a preliminary goal of distributing 25 million condoms through their domestic U.S. tour and an additional 25 million through newly launched global Condom Nation teams in countries around the world. However, with requests pouring in from public and private agencies across the US, coupled with new opportunities to access younger demographics through distribution to high schools and colleges, “We already see ourselves greatly exceeding our initial estimates,” said Vellequette, adding that 50 million condoms distributed in the U.S. alone is a more accurate projection.
Condom Nation left Los Angeles on Sunday, March 10th, and before arriving in Florida made stops in Dallas, Texas – where the team dropped over 600,000 condoms for distribution to agencies in need across the south – and in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they provided more than 50,000 condoms to the state’s Department of Health. Also in March, the team made six stops throughout Florida, distributing over 175,000 condoms. In recent weeks, the group distributed free condoms in connection with two AHF “Keep the Promise on AIDS” Marches and Rallies in Brooklyn, NY and Cleveland, OH.
After Friday’s event, the group will make two more stops in Washington, D.C. on Saturday and Sunday before continuing on to New Jersey and then New York for a stop at the Brooklyn Pride celebration on June 8th.