The official New York City condom has a different look and a sexy new slogan: New Yorkers are being encouraged to "get some" on Valentine's Day. Street teams will be handing out the free condoms at busy hubs around the city on Thursday, including Times Square, Wall Street and near City Hall. And an ad campaign on television, radio and subways and buses will soon begin, featuring the "Get some" catchphrase.
"We want to give away as many condoms as people will use because we're trying to make New York City an even safer place to have sex, and this is a powerful way to do it," said Monica Sweeney, the Health Department's assistant commissioner for HIV prevention and control.
The city has made free condoms available for years, but last year revamped the package with a distinct look to encourage usage.
The first design was a black wrapper stamped with the letters "NYC CONDOM" in the same font and bright colors used on city subway maps and signs.
Since it was launched a year ago, the Health Department has handed out more than 36 million condoms, or an average of 3 million each month.
Before the condom wrapper was redesigned, the city typically gave away 1.5 million condoms monthly.
The free condom initiative is part of the city's effort to reduce rates of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. About 100,000 of New York's 8.2 million residents have HIV or AIDS, and many more are diagnosed each year.
The new design unveiled Wednesday features the letters "NYC" in black, inside three adjoining white circles. Underneath the "NYC" is the word "CONDOM," with each letter in a different color. The wrapper is still black and the condom inside, from the Lifestyles brand, is the same.
Designer Yves Behar, founder of the San Francisco-based agency, fuseproject, created the wrapper's new look, which he said he wanted to be friendly and unintimidating.
The city said new condom dispensers, also designed by Behar, will be available for establishments that wish to distribute the condoms.
Currently, about 900 establishments — some restaurants, bars and salons but mostly nonprofit groups — offer the condoms, Sweeney said.
Last year, the city's condom campaign angered New York's top Catholic leaders, who said Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration was promoting promiscuity by "blanketing our neighborhoods with condoms."