Overshadowed by Valentine's Day and Fashion Week, you may have forgotten to write in your calendar that yesterday marked the start of National Condom Week. We're not holding our breath on whether that means much in Washington, but in New York and Australia there are two stories worth noting.
In a statement released by the Gay Men's Health Crisis, Daffy's, one of the tri-state area's largest low-price retailers, launched a "Safe Sex Is Always in Fashion" initiative on Feb. 10. With more than 25,000 women in New York City living with HIV/AIDS and countless others unaware that they have been infected, the disease has long ceased being only a gay men's crisis. In fact, the Women's Institute, an offshoot of the GMHC, was created to respond specifically to the broadening epidemic afflicting women in New York; it disseminates information on the impact of the disease on women and how we can better protect ourselves.
In partnership with the Women's Institute, Daffy's will distribute 25,000 "safe sex packs" throughout the city and an additional 50,000 free condoms and safe-sex guidelines in all of its New York, New Jersey and Connecticut stores. According to the GMHC, "Daffy's will use one of its three spirited 'spokes-mannequins,' Jackie, to help deliver the message. In Daffy's advertising, people will be told that 'Jackie likes to think of condoms as must-have fashion accessories.'" In addition, a traveling window display with Jackie embracing one of her lovers will travel in New York City throughout National Condom Week, accompanied by street teams handing out safe-sex packs.
And in other rubber news, Democrats in the land down under are lobbying for condom vending machines to be placed in schools, News.co.au reports. Democrat M.P. Kate Reynolds said the issue was not one of morals but of health. Reynolds believes that the machines should be placed in schools, where they are accessible to students, so that condoms can be bought without stigma or guilt. "The facts are simple: high school teenagers are having sex," she said. "We can't stop them having sex but we can stop them getting sexually transmitted diseases and we can prevent unwanted pregnancies."
Oh, so that's what's happening? Will someone please inform our president?