LOS ANGELES, May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to encourage condom use and safer sex practices, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health will begin distributing its official "L.A. Condom" in a 40-foot condom mobile that made its debut at Long Beach Pride. Condoms being distributed feature new wrappers designed by local residents as part of last summer's "L.A. Condom" wrapper design contest.
The goal of the campaign is to distribute one million and one (1,000,001) condoms by the end of 2013. To help distribute the condoms, the campaign also announced that it is partnering with local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) intramural sports leagues, including the Los Angeles Flag Football League, Lambda Basketball and The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association. Other sports and activity groups are also encouraged to sign up for the condom distribution program.
Team members from the LA Flag Football League, Lambda Basketball and The Greater L.A. Softball Association also volunteered to be featured in the new campaign ads.
"Gay athletes have always been in sports and we're delighted some professional athletes have made steps to live their life honestly in the public's eye. We're hopeful that this recent attention can help Lambda Basketball shine a light on causes important to us," said Garsten Bergquist, vice president, Lambda Basketball. "Health education and community service are a part of our mission, so we're happy to help promote a healthy lifestyle - whether it's staying active by playing in a team sport or by using condoms and getting tested regularly for HIV or STDs."
"Some of the guys I play with were not out of the closet when they first joined the LA Flag Football League. Our group is so diverse and inclusive that we even have straight guys that play football with us," said Ralph Sansano of the gay Los Angeles Flag Football League. "We're happy to break stereotypes of what it means to be gay, bisexual or even straight. And we're also proud to be out in the community to help promote safer sex and condoms."
"Since 1978, we've been a safe place for the LGBT community to play competitive softball," said Ken Scearce, commissioner of The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association. "HIV is still a reality in our community and condoms are still the most effective way to prevent it. So, we're happy to spread the word and distribute some free condoms during Pride season and at our upcoming events."
Residents can find a full list of locations distributing free condoms year round in Los Angeles County at www.LAsexsymbol.com.
If your organization, business, sports team or activity group is located in L.A. County and wants to help distribute free condoms, please email your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last June, L.A. County Public Health's Division of HIV and STD Programs announced the winners of its first-ever condom contest to design an official Los Angeles branded condom wrapper. The contest received over 500 entries with more than 185,000 online votes cast.
An estimated 2,000 new HIV infections occur annually in L.A. County. In 2011, the Department of Public Health reported more than 47,500 new cases of chlamydia, more than 9,500 new cases of gonorrhea and nearly 1,800 new cases of syphilis.
The L.A. Sex Symbol program is funded by the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This initiative is intended to increase condom use, drive awareness of HIV and STD prevention, and provide information about HIV/AIDS and STD treatment and care.
SOURCE Los Angeles County Department of Public Health