AIDS activists launch million-condom tour in Venice Beach
In time for Valentine’s Day, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is launching a coast-to-coast “Condom Nation” tour Monday on the Venice Beach boardwalk to pass out free condoms and raise awareness about HIV and safe sex.
An 18-wheeler big rig decorated in red, white and blue is scheduled to travel through about 20 states to provide condoms and information as well as offer free HIV testing. The tour is expected to end in Washington in late July, in time for the International AIDS conference.
The trailer is stocked with about 750,000 condoms, and will be restocked along the way, with the goal of giving out more than a million over the course of the tour, said Ged Kenslea, spokesman for the foundation.
The foundation said advocates with cigarette trays full of condoms would be handing out the protective gear Monday on Venice Beach.
“Condoms are an essential part of preventing HIV and STDs. Not only are they extremely effective at preventing transmission, they are cheaper and easier to use than many other prevention tools,” foundation president Michael Weinstein said in a statement.
Kenslea said the tour would be passing through many Southern states where he said the incidence of HIV has been increasing. After Venice, the big rig's next scheduled stop is Oakland, followed by Albuquerque, N.M.; Dallas; Baton Rouge, La.; Atlanta and Jacksonville, Fla.
The foundation, the primary force behind an effort to mandate condom use in porn-video production, recently scored a victory when the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance requiring adult-film actors to use condoms while performing.
-- Victoria Kim
Photo: The AIDS Healthcare Foundation intends to pass out more than a million condoms on a coast-to-coast tour. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times