FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation:
Free condom distribution & HIV testing event by Condom Nation
THURSDAY, April 11th 2 pm – 5 pm
|Where:||SPEAKER & FREE CONDOM DISTRIBUTION: Fayetteville State University|
|1200 Murchison Rd. (at the University’s Student Center)|
|Fayetteville, NC 28301|
|FREE HIV TESTING: Smith Recreation Center|
|1520 Slater Avenue|
|Fayetteville, NC 28301|
Hydeia Broadbent, 28-year-old HIV/AIDS Youth Advocate & Speaker who began her activism career by speaking alongside Magic Johnson at the age of 6
|B-Roll:||Custom-wrapped 18-wheel Condom Nation big rig and matching HIV testing van providing free condoms and testing; Speech from HIV/AIDS Youth Advocate Hydeia Broadbent and step dance performance at FSU Student Center|
ON THE ROAD – Marco Benjamin, Condom Nation Program Manager, +1.347.577.2757
FAYETTEVILLE – Pat Whitfield, Disease Intervention Specialist, Cumberland County Department of Public Health, +1.910.433.3641
LOS ANGELES – Kyveli Diener, AHF Marketing & Communications Coordinator, +1.310.779.4796 (mobile) or +1.323.308.1821, ext. 1805
The mobile condom distribution team that distributed 5.5 million condoms throughout the U.S. last year, Condom Nation – an initiative from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization – has launched their second U.S. tour. Since the team’s 18-wheel, 72-foot custom-wrapped big rig and matching HIV testing sprinter van departed on a speedy cross-country cruise from California last month, Condom Nation has so far, in total, distributed over 200,000 free condoms and tested nearly 150 people for HIV at events throughout Florida in March, and at AHF’s “Keep The Promise on AIDS” March and Rally in Brooklyn, NY on April 6th.
The team’s specially decorated big rig will be parked in the Capel Arena parking lot at the intersection of Langdon Street and Slater Avenue, and the matching sprinter van will be providing free rapid HIV tests from 2-5 pm at the Smith Recreation Center a short distance away up Slater Avenue. During the same time frame, Condom Nation representatives – including HIV advocate and Condom Nation Program Manager Marco Benjamin and Truck Manager Pat Ruiz – will be handing out free condoms at the Fayetteville State University Student Center.
Also at the campus’ Student Center will be a step dance performance and a speech from Hydeia Broadbent, a 28-year-old activist who has been publicly speaking about living with AIDS – with which she was diagnosed at age 3 – since an appearance with Magic Johnson on a Nickelodeon special about the virus in 1991, where the then-six-year-old tearfully implored the viewers to treat people living with HIV/AIDS just the same as everyone else. Today, her inspirational speeches and involvement in AIDS-related activities and advocacy has garnered her global esteem and such honors as the 2012 AIDS Healthcare Foundation World AIDS Day Award.
Partnering organizations contributing to Condom Nation’s event in Fayetteville include the Cumberland County Department of Public Health, the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center (SR-AHEC), Community Health Interventions, and the Cumberland County HIV/AIDS Task Force.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 1.4 million cases of chlamydia were reported in 2011, and reporting of new gonorrhea cases saw its second consecutive year of increase with more than 300,000 new cases that year. These are just some of the estimated 20 million new STD cases reported annually, half of which occur in young people aged 15 -24. The CDC estimates the health care costs to the nation for treating these diseases – which are preventable through condom use – to be about $16 billion per year.
“Condom Nation is about access to condoms,” said Condom Nation Director James Vellequette. “Our goal is to make condoms easily and readily available for free or at a very minimal cost to those receiving them through our widespread, national, fun and motivated distribution efforts. Simultaneously, we need to eliminate the stigma around having condoms, carrying them, selling them, or best of all, giving them away so that everyone has access to them whenever they need them.”
The tour had a preliminary goal of distributing 25 million condoms through their domestic U.S. tour and an additional 25 million through newly launched global Condom Nation teams in countries around the world. However, with requests pouring in from public and private agencies across the US, coupled with new opportunities to access younger demographics through distribution to high schools and colleges, “we already see ourselves greatly exceeding our initial estimates,” said Vellequette, adding that 50 million condoms distributed in the U.S. alone is a more accurate projection.
Condom Nation left Los Angeles on Sunday, March 10th, and before arriving in Florida made stops in Dallas, Texas – where the team dropped over 600,000 condoms for distribution to agencies in need across the south – and in Little Rock, Arkansas, where they provided more than 50,000 condoms to the state’s Department of Health. Also in March, in Florida – at events in Pensacola, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, and at the Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale – the team distributed over 175,000 condoms and tested over 150 people for HIV using the bioLytical Laboratories’ INSTITM Rapid HIV Test, which gives accurate results in just sixty seconds. At AHF’s third “Keep The Promise on AIDS” March and Rally in Brooklyn, NY last weekend, the team handed out 10,000 free condoms to the gathered crowd.
After Thursday’s event in Fayetteville, the Condom Nation Tour will make a second North Carolina stop on Friday in Spring Lake. The crew will then fulfill some regional commitments before proceeding to the fourth march and rally of AHF’s “Keep The Promise on AIDS” campaign – which brings together local and national advocates along with spiritual and political leaders to remind elected officials that the fight against HIV/AIDS is not yet won – this time in Cleveland, OH on May 11th.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to over 200,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @AIDSHealthcare