"DC Doin' It!" Will Distribute 500,000 Female Condoms, Using Sex Appeal to Promote Safe Sex
WASHINGTON, July 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington AIDS Partnership today announced that the second phase of an innovative campaign to increase awareness and use of the female condom as a tool for HIV prevention will launch across the District this week.
The DC Doin' It! campaign will kick off Thursday with the rollout of 460 Metro bus ads and the distribution of branded posters and brochures through community partners. It will also premiere a dedicated Web site – www.DCDoinIt.com – that will provide information on locations where District residents can obtain free female condoms, as well as get pointers on how to use the female condom and how to discuss it with sexual partners.
"This campaign is an incredibly exciting outcome of an innovative public-private partnership focused on finding new ways to fight HIV/AIDS in the District," said Channing Wickham, Executive Director of the Washington AIDS Partnership. "With support from the District Department of Health, the MAC AIDS Fund, CVS/pharmacy, and local community-based organizations, we have designed a campaign that seeks to change social norms and save lives. We're making sure that we aren't just leaving condoms in baskets."
With funding provided by a $500,000 grant from the MAC AIDS Fund, the District Department of Health and the Washington AIDS Partnership will manage a grassroots social marketing campaign that will educate residents and distribute 500,000 FC2 Female Condoms® through local organizations that serve neighborhoods hardest hit by the District's HIV/AIDS epidemic. Local partner organizations include Calvary Healthcare, Inc., Community Education Group, Our Place DC, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, and the Women's Collective.
The partnership is also supported by CVS/pharmacy, which has agreed to make the Female Health Company's FC2 Female Condom available for purchase in all 56 of its District stores to ensure that women and men will have 24-hour access to the method. A three-pack of female condoms retails for $6.49 at CVS stores.
DC Doin' It! has been in development since March. The Washington AIDS Partnership worked with the DC Department of Health and local partner organizations to conduct focus groups and develop messages and materials that are engaging and relevant to sexually active adults, especially African American women and men, who live at disproportionate risk of HIV infection.
The focus groups indicated that adults ranging in age 20 to 60 were more engaged by marketing that highlights sexual pleasure, intimacy, and women's empowerment over messages focused solely on HIV prevention. As a result, campaign posters feature images of a young couple engaged in a passionate embrace with the tagline, "The female condom [has] pleasure points for her and him to tease, please, and protect. Get turned on to it."
To promote grassroots marketing of the female condom in District neighborhoods, the campaign has trained 42 peer educators and conducted nearly 4,000 education sessions with potential female condom users. More than 40,000 free female condoms have been distributed to date, and the goal is to complete distribution by the end of 2010.
"We believe that we have built the foundation for a sustained campaign," Wickham said, "But we also recognize that changing social norms takes time. We're eager to secure the resources required to make DC Doin' It! a multi-year effort. The Washington AIDS Partnership will monitor the program to ensure that we are achieving our goals and helping to break the cycle of HIV infection among women and men in the nation's capital."
An HIV/AIDS surveillance survey conducted by District's HIV Administration in 2008 identified several District neighborhoods with high rates of heterosexual HIV transmission. This finding led the Department of Health and the Washington AIDS Partnership to look for a new approach to provide women who live at high risk of HIV transmission with access to a prevention method that they can initiate and negotiate with their partners.
About the Washington AIDS Partnership
The Washington AIDS Partnership is a collaboration of grantmaking organizations that leads an effective private-sector response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area through grantmaking, technical assistance, public policy initiatives, and investment in youth development through an AmeriCorps program. Since 1989, the Washington AIDS Partnership has granted over $19 million to more than 140 organizations. Currently, 30 major funders participate in the Washington AIDS Partnership, in addition to many smaller funders, organizations, and individuals. The Washington AIDS Partnership is a collaborative of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers. For more information, visit www.washingtonaidspartnership.org.
SOURCE Washington AIDS Partnership