NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- New York City, which gives away more than 38 million condoms a year at 3,500 locations, has updated the packaging and added an extra-large size, officials say.
Dr. Mary Bassett, New York City's health commissioner, said the department has distributed almost 250 million city-branded male condoms since it first started distributing them in 2007.
However, New Yorkers suggested the city update its LifeStyles brand condoms' wrapper to make it more prominent and asked for a larger size option. Health officials responded by changing the wrapper to a bright blue rapper with "NYC" printed in black against a background of white, interlocking circles above "condom" in multicolored letters. And by this summer, New Yorkers wanting a bigger condom can use the "KYNG" size, which will come in a gold package with a crown printed about the size.
"The NYC condom program has been immensely successful in promoting and encouraging safer sex," Bassett said in a statement. "We anticipate that New Yorkers will love the new look and appreciate the new size option. These high-quality condoms will help all New Yorkers protect themselves and their partners."
New York City's condom initiative dates to 1971, when the Health Department started distributing condoms through its sexually transmitted diseases clinics.
When used correctly and consistently, condoms are approximately 98 percent effective in preventing unintended pregnancies and offer effective protection against most STDs, including HIV, the Health Department said.