...Here to protect you!
One of the challenges we face every day is encouraging people to protect themselves and wear the rubbers we distribute. Like we mentioned in the last post, at least 3% of DC residents are positive for HIV. Yet in this high risk city, only 30% use condoms.
Reasons why vary, from not wanting to pay to decreased pleasure. For women, who face a higher risk of HIV infection to begin with, encouraging their partner to wear a condom can be an issue of power - and poverty. Studies have shown that young women, especially single mothers, will put immediate needs such as shelter and food above long term risks, including HIV.
So what can we do? Our most effective approach is one on one conversations, hundreds of which happen every week in and around our mobile testing units. After discussing HIV risk factors, constituents are given condoms and encouraged to get tested.
We also provide free condoms in barber shops, salons and other locations where the District's Black community gather. We supply 150 locations with at least 100 condoms a week - distributing hundreds of thousands of condoms each year.
But this still isn't enough. We need discussions about safe sex to happen every where, every day - and we need condom use to be the good, strong, right thing to do.
Which is where our public awareness campaign - Rubberman - comes in. He's strong, he's Black, and he's the public face of our condom initiative. With advertisements in the Washington Informer, stickers for outside our condom distribution sites and his logo emblazoned on our outreach vehicles, we hope this new symbol will do his part to spark conversations and save the day.