The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently approved a $1.57 million contract to deliver more than 20 million Ansell Healthcare's Lifestyle condoms and packets of lubricants to organizations and venues in the city to help curb the spread of HIV, the New York Post reports (Campanile, New York Post, 1/26).
The health department will pay Ansell four cents per condom, putting the cost of the program at about $720,000 annually, according to health officials.
Officials are attempting to make the packaging for the condoms, which will be distributed by the city, more distinctive. Current condoms distributed by the city are wrapped in the red packaging from the Lifestyles brand.
City officials said they hope the condom's packaging will help them to better track the effectiveness of their distribution program, the AP/CBS4Denver.com reports.
Officials plan to track the progress of the program through an annual community health survey, which polls 10,000 city residents by telephone.
New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said, "We ask, 'Did you use a condom the last time you had sex?' And once this is launched, the next time we ask that question, of those people who say yes, we'll say, 'What did the wrapper look like?"'
He added that if "they describe our wrapper, then we'll know that they would have used our condom."
Frieden said, "Brands work, and people use branded items more than they use nonbranded items, whether it's a cola or a medicine even."
New York City currently distributes about 1.5 million condoms monthly, or about 18 million annually, at no cost to organizations, health clinics, advocacy groups, bars, restaurants, nail salons, nightclubs and prisons.
Organizations or venues can request an unlimited supply of condoms at no cost through an online ordering system set up by the city health department (AP/CBS4Denver.com, 1/26).
There are more than 100,000 HIV-positive people in New York City, and health officials estimate that there are thousands more undiagnosed HIV cases (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/20/06).