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Condom contest

Health Initiative for Men seeks condom dispenser designs by Apr 17

The Health Initiative for Men (HIM) wants to make it easier for gay guys to rubber up. And they’re willing to go the extra mile to make it happen.

HIM has launched a contest to come up with a design for a free condom and lube dispenser to install in gay spaces to make it easier for men to access safer sex options in Vancouver.

Similar dispensers already exist in other cities.

“We’re trying to respond to the high numbers of risk that’s going on in the community,” explains Jody Jollimore, project coordinator for HIM.

Jollimore points to the Community Based Research Centre’s 2007 Sex Now Survey results that showed 42 percent of men under 30 reported having had unprotected sex in the previous year. Among that age cohort, 41 percent reported being pressured for sex without a condom.

Jollimore says HIM is trying to respond to those numbers in a proactive way to encourage gay men to choose to use condoms.

“It’s not about saying you must use condoms or you will get HIV. It’s not looking at scare tactics,” says Jollimore.

“It’s looking at reporting the facts and trying to offer gay men choices. By increasing the visibility of condoms in gay venues and by providing condoms and lube for free, we think that as a gay men’s health organization, that’s an important part of supporting gay men in their choices to have safer sex.”

The winning condom dispenser design will be unique, functional and economical, and will earn a $500 honorarium. Deadline to submit your design is Apr 17. Contest rules at www.checkhimout.ca.

Jollimore says the design proposals will be judged in late April and HIM will build the prototype and begin installing the dispensers in June.