Miami Herald (02.14.12) - Friday, February 17, 2012
Last year, the Florida health department's Division of Disease
Control distributed about 15.2 million condoms of all
varieties throughout the state. In the Keys, nearly 500,000
were given out at 130 locations from Key Largo to Key West to
help prevent HIV.
The Keys population numbers about 78,000; nearly 900 residents
have HIV/AIDS, and another 600 have died from it, said Cyna
Wright, Monroe County's HIV/AIDS program coordinator. About
one in 60 men over age 12 in Monroe County has HIV - second
only to Florida's Miami-Dade County, where about one in 56 has
HIV, said Wright.
In the 1990s, Monroe County primarily distributed condoms to
gay bars; strip clubs also provided them. Today, condoms are
placed in venues that are part of people's everyday lives,
including churches, barbershops, and beauty salons.
"I wanted to decrease the stigma surrounding safety in bed,"
Wright said. "I wanted to put it in the same parameters of
getting a condom just like you would get a haircut."
At the Headlines Hair and Nails beauty salon and Stock Island
Fades & Spa barbershop, condoms are kept in boxes that say "We
play safe in the Keys." "I tell them, 'Girl, don't wait for
your son to ask for them. Just keep them in your house,'" said
Cissy Bourzikos, an HHN nail technician. At SIFS, many condoms
are picked up by US Coast Guard and Navy personnel, as well as
by some retirees.
"Each HIV case costs in the $500,000 range for care over a
lifetime," Wright said. "Public health is why we are doing
what we are doing."