500 NYC condoms rested in my front hall awaiting their moment. Graduation down the street-- Columbia University's Law School--was a window of opportunity (unidentified female grad & family in photo). Did she know what had occurred earlier this year? In a March 2007 report, MSNBC was one of the few news outlets reporting that prices for oral contraceptives were doubling and tripling at student health centers. Why? Changes in Medicaid that end incentives for our friends at drug companies to provide colleges with discounts. Here's the complex, disheartening story. But ours is a more hopeful tale
We were an Oberlin group-- Stella Kim, '83, whom I met recently at a knitting circle, me '55, and Ron Bloom, who taught there in the late 1960s. Stella and I are adorned with knit condom amulets(hers is the Oberlinian) and aprons from Ocotlan, a small village near Oaxaca, Mexico. I thought we needed to look approachable--like your Mom-- as we reached out with our message, "Free condoms, courtesy of New York City's Health Department!" Great response; we wrapped it up, so to speak, in 45 minutes.
Ron passed on the vintage half-apron from a hardware store, wore a Condom Amulet, made from recycled materials--gold-colored mesh bag that once held chocolate candy attached to telephone wire cord. (Hope to replicate this with knitting.) Near him was a woman vendor who told about HIV-positive relative. Earlier a journalist who had contracted the virus ten years before, thanked us for our public awareness effort.
We hope Tom Frieden, Oberlin '82, Commissioner of Health for NYC, likes our post-Valentine's day distribution. More doable than icy February. Stella thinks the City could start this at every college around freshman orientation. Where are the advocates for condom give-aways outside high schools--currently not allowed?