NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Friday marked not only Valentine's Day, but also National Condom Awareness Day – and the city marked the occasion by unveiling a new extra-large size condom with NYC branding.
The extra-large condom, manufactured by LifeStyles and branded with the NYC Condom logo, has been dubbed the "KYNG" condom, according to the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
"We have always distributed larger-size condoms through the New York City Department of Health," said department Assistant Commissioner Dr. Blayne Cutler. "But because many New Yorkers were asking us to have a branded larger-size condom, we decided to bring the larger-size condom into the NYC Condom brand."
The department has also issued a new look for the packaging for city-sponsored condoms.
"Our standard LifeStyles condom – the NYC Condom – will have a bright blue wrapper, and it will more prominently feature the LifeStyles brand name, because we wanted to emphasize to New Yorkers that these are the same high-quality LifeStyles condoms that are available in stores," Cutler told 1010 WINS.
The changes to the city-sponsored condoms came from direct feedback, she said.
"In the past year, we have participated in over 600 community events, and we've reached more than 25,000 New Yorkers, and they've told us that they wanted to see an updated look, and also to have a larger-size branded condom as part of our repertoire," Cutler said.
The "KYNG" condom and the new wrapper will be available throughout the city this summer.
The department said the NYC Condom program has been widely successful in promoting safer sex.
The department emphasized that when used correctly and consistently, condoms are about 98 percent effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies, and offer effective protection against STDs.
The NYC branded condom has been available since 2007. About 250 million branded condoms have been distributed since, the department said.
The size of city-sponsored condoms actually entered into the mayoral race last year. Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who later lost the Democratic mayoral primary to Mayor Bill de Blasio, made headlines when she called for an improvement to the free, city-sponsored condoms.
Back last August, Quinn said gay rights and HIV/AIDS organizations had complained that the condoms are too small and are only offered in one size, and that they also rip too easily, according to published reports.
In a subsequent debate among the three Republican mayoral candidates, eventual Republican primary winner Joe Lhota criticized Quinn for raising condoms as an issue.
"You want to see the ultimate in pandering? It's exactly what Christine Quinn did," he said.
Mayor de Blasio did not address the condom issue during the campaign.
The city's condom initiative dates back to 1971, when the Health Department began distributing condoms at its STD clinics. The program expanded during the 1980s to include community-based service organizations, and increased more than sevenfold by 2005, when the Health Department launched a Web-based ordering system.
Free NYC-branded condoms are now available at venues such as bars, clubs, restaurants, nail salons, and barbershops.
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