GlobalPost Blog Examines Large-Scale Public Sector Condom Distribution Campaigns In U.S. Versus Abroad

GlobalPost’s “Global Pulse” blog profiles Washington, D.C.’s public condom distribution campaign, the Rubber Revolution Campaign, one of only a handful of large-scale public sector condom distribution campaigns in the U.S., and examines why public sector condom campaigns are more common outside of the U.S. “In other parts of the world, public sector condom campaigns are standard, [according to Michael Kharfen, bureau chief of partnerships and community outreach at the D.C. Department of Health], while in the United States they are primarily run through non-profit organizations,” the blog writes, noting, “Kharfen added that there is a lesson to be learned from other countries’ efforts to promote condom use through social marketing and public education.”

“Why public sector condom campaigns are more common outside of the United States has to do with politics, said Lori Yeghiayan, associate director of communications at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation,” the blog writes. “‘There’s controversy in putting public money into condoms. There’s a small but vocal minority of the country that feels abstinence-only education is the way to go and condoms are promoting sexual practices that they consider immoral,’ she said,” according to the blog. The blog discusses U.S. funding for condom distribution programs overseas through PEPFAR, highlights several challenges to launching similar programs in the U.S. and concludes, “With President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, said Kharfen, the U.S. is just starting to jump on the bandwagon. … D.C., it seems, has its residents covered. The question is whether other cities will follow suit” (Judem, 6/18).

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