AIDS group’s 70-foot, 18-wheel ‘Condom Nation’ big rig and companion Sprinter van continue national condom giveaway tour with a stop in Columbus, Ohio to participate in a National HIV Testing Day event. Goal: 6 months, 25-states, 10 million free condoms
Free HIV & STI testing, free condom giveaway, on National HIV Testing Day. Columbus Public Health, 240 Parsons Avenue, Columbus OH 43215 (front lawn)
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 confidential HIV & STD testing in front of the Columbus Public Health Building.
Wednesday, June 27th
‘Condom Nation’ Joins Columbus for National HIV Testing Day, free HIV & STD testing – Columbus Public Health, 240 Parsons Avenue, Columbus OH 43215 (Cross street: E. Main St.) Partner agency offering HIV & STI testing: Columbus Public Health Dept. NOTE: In addition to HIV testing, screen for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichinosis will be available.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY—1:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Free condom giveaway from Condom Nation vans, free HIV & STI testing.
Dr. Mysheika LeMaile-Williams, Assistant Health Commissioner & Medical Director, Columbus Public Health
Peggy Anderson, CEO, AIDS Resource Center, Ohio.
James Vellequette, Associate Director, Condom Nation Tour, AHF
Tyler TerMeer, Director, Ohio AIDS Coalition
Iris Velasco, Chair, COPHA
70-foot, 18-wheel ‘Condom Nation’ big-rig with condoms and safer sex education materials.
James Vellequette, AHF Assoc. Dir., Condom Nation Tour, (323) 573-3005 cell (ON THE ROAD)
Jose R. Rodriguez, Director of Public Affairs & Communication, Columbus Health Department, (614) 645-6928 / (614) 604-5025 cell
Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications, (323) 377-4312 cell (LOS ANGELES)
COLUMBUS, OH (June 26, 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 arrives in Columbus, Ohio for a free condom giveaway and HIV & STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing event on June 27th at a special National HIV Testing Day event—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.
In Columbus, AHF’s Condom Nation will giveaway free condoms and offer free HIV testing—along with local partner agency Columbus Public Health—on Wednesday, June 27th from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Columbus Public Health, 240 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215, as part of its observation of National HIV Testing Day. 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 and we are excited to be working with Columbus Public Health and AIDS Resource Center Ohio to help achieve these goals on this special National HIV Testing Day event.”
‘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); Jersey City, NJ (June 1st); Asbury Park, NJ (June 3rd); Providence, Rhode Island (June 6-7); Brooklyn, NY (June 9); Philadelphia, PA (June 15); New York City, NY (June 17); Detroit, MI (June 23); Columbus, OH, (June 27) Indianapolis, IN, (June 29) 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