FORT MYERS, Fla.--()--AIDS Healthcare Foundation:
“we already see ourselves greatly exceeding our initial estimates”
Free condom distribution & HIV testing event by Condom Nation
THURSDAY, March 21st
3 pm – 7 pm
|Where:||Vacant lot next to Anderson Avenue Package Store|
|2972 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.|
|Fort Myers, FL 33916|
|B-Roll:||Custom-wrapped 18-wheel Condom Nation big rig and matching HIV testing van providing free condoms and testing|
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. Since the team’s 18-wheel, 72-foot custom-wrapped big rig and matching HIV testing sprinter van made a speedy cross-country cruise from California to Florida earlier this month, Condom Nation has dropped off over 100,000 condoms and tested nearly 100 people at events in Pensacola, Jacksonville, Orlando, and St. Petersburg en route to the Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale on March 24th.
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. In addition to providing free condoms, the tour offers free testing for HIV using the bioLytical Laboratories’ INSTITM Rapid HIV Test, which gives accurate results in just sixty seconds.
After Thursday’s event in Fort Myers, the Condom Nation Tour will proceed to Fort Lauderdale for the Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival on March 24th. Following that, the team will head up the East Coast in time to make an appearance at AHF’s Keep The Promise on AIDS March and Rally in Brooklyn, NY on April 6th.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to over 200,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @AIDSHealthcare