SF encourages gay men to use female condoms

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco health officials are stepping up the fight against spread of sexually transmitted diseases by urging the use of a more comfortable, redesigned female condom.

The city is the nation’s first to encourage use of the new FC2 condom by women and gay men.

The San Francisco Chronicle says health officials began pushing use of female condoms in the mid-1990s, but they were criticized as awkward, uncomfortable and expensive.

Last year, the manufacturer redesigned the safe-sex female condom using a thinner material. The two rings securing the condom are also made of a softer material.

The condoms will be available at city clinics without charge. Free condoms were distributed Monday at San Francisco’s Civic Center, San Francisco State University, Dolores Park, the Bayview and the Castro.

—  John Wright

Need a condom? There’s an app for that

Just in time for World AIDS Day, iCondom has been released in two U.S. cities, with more slated to come on line soon. The app will be available free for 48 hours from the iTunes Store.

First launched in France — in Paris and Marseilles — on Oct. 18, the iCondom app lets users find condom dispensers and free condom sources closest to their location, 24/7. The U.S. launch takes place jointly with the release of an improved version 1.1,  with better mapping functionalities, the app’s creators say. The U.S. version now available only covers New York City and Washington, D.C., “but should grow rapidly based on the users’ contributions,” according to a press release.

iCondom geolocates 200-plus locations in New York City where free condoms, lubricants and female condoms can be found, including bars, restaurants, barber shops, hospitals, clubs, medical centers, associations and beauty salons. In D.C., the app geolocates 140-plus places to get covered. iCondom users can add locations, rate the locations and comment on dispensers or places so other users have up-to-date information.

Creators called the app “an innovative tool to reinforce safe-sex messages and speak more directly to the youth by using their favorite communications tool: smart phones.”

—  admin