At the premiere Nebraska event in Omaha on Saturday, the team distributed 70,000 free condoms and tested 18 people for HIV. TODAY, July 15, the team’s specially decorated big rig and matching sprinter testing van will be parked at the Red Fox Steakhouse & Lounge> at 1339 W. O Street from 3 pm – 7 pm</strong. There, 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 Saturday, July 13, the team’s specially decorated big rig and matching sprinter testing van will be parked on the north side of Dodge Street at 77th Street from 2 pm – 6 pm. There, 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.
Local partners for Saturday’s event include the Nebraska Red Ribbon Community (NRRC), Nebraska AIDS Project (NAP), the Lancaster County Department of Health, the Family Health Services, Inc., Nebraska’s Ryan White Program, and the Nebraska HIV CARE and Prevention Consortium (NHCPC).
Since leaving Los Angeles on March 10th, the team and their 18-wheel, 72-foot custom-wrapped big rig and matching HIV testing sprinter van have distributed over 1.5 million free condoms and tested more than 300 people for HIV at events in Texas, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Washington, D.C, New Jersey, and Massachusetts before returning to Ohio for National HIV Testing Day at the end of June.
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.”
After Lincoln, the tour will host two more stops in Nebraska this week: Grand Island on July 17th and Scottsbluff on July 19th.