MEMPHIS, TN – More than 30 Memphis-area service agencies, businesses and churches are launching a new effort to dispense free condoms in the community to reduce the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
This new program is called Free Condoms Memphis. A website, social media and marketing campaign, including bus ads, launches this Thursday, February 14, 2013.
Each agency, business and church has agreed to make condoms available to the general public, no questions asked, during regular business hours. See the attachment for the full list of participating agencies, churches and businesses, or log on to the website: www.freecondomsmemphis.org.
The campaign will officially kick off with a news conference on Thursday, February 14. Details are below:
What: Free Condoms Memphis News Conference
When: Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 12:00 p.m.
Where: Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, 892 S. Cooper Street
Representatives from many of the participating agencies, churches and businesses will be available to answer questions.
The HIV infection rate in the Memphis metro area in 2009 was more than twice the rate reported in Tennessee overall, and Memphis and Shelby County also consistently have among the highest infection rates for a number of other sexually transmitted infections.
“Making condoms more available and accessible, especially for young people and those who could not otherwise afford them, is an important step to address our region’s unacceptably high infection rates,” said Elokin CaPece, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region’s Director of Education. This program is a model example of government, business, faith and community non-profit collaboration and is funded through the West Tennessee Region HIV Prevention Services, administered by the Shelby County Ryan White Program.
One thing that makes this campaign unique is the number of churches and small businesses that have agreed to serve as condom distribution sites. Mario Taylor, owner of First Impressions Remix Barber and Beauty Shop at 1470 Elvis Presley said, “It’s very critical for young people to have HIV prevention information and access to condoms in the community. Providing free condoms is a good fit for the prevention work that we’re already doing in my shop, including an annual HIV testing event. This is another way to highlight the importance of responsible sex and HIV prevention in the South Memphis community.”
Pastor Paul Eknes-Tucker of Holy Trinity Community Church at 685 S. Highland said, “We are all about giving people information so they can make good choices about their lives. I believe condoms give people a choice about having children or preventing the spread of disease, and that’s a choice every individual should be able to make for oneself.”
For more information about the Free Condoms Memphis campaign, go to www.freecondomsmemphis.org.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive and related health care through clinic services, education, advocacy and community partnerships in serving 42 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas.
Director of Community Affairs
February 11, 2013