Condom Nation makes stop in Grand Island

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Updated: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 08:34:56 CST

The AIDs epidemic swept the country in the 1980's and the fight continues today. News5's Shelby Fenster went to Grand Island today to learn how the AIDs Healthcare Foundation is targeting a new generation. It used to be all about AIDs and STDs. But now America's youth are more concerned with getting pregnant. Condom Nation stopped in Grand Island today to remind people of all ages that condoms aren't just about birth control. While you no longer have to ask your cashier or pharmacist for condoms and they're sold everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations, it's now the cost that's keeping some of America's youth from buying protection. "They're about anywhere from $1.00 to $1.50 at your local retail store and supermarkets," said Condom Nation Tour Program Manager Marco Benjamin. But it doesn't cost near that to manufacture the condoms. That cost comes to less than 4 cents per condom. And Benjamin Marco says the high profit is getting in the way of protection. "If they were able to lower the pricing of condoms, we feel that it would help lower the rates of HIV, STDs and unwanted pregnancies," said Benjamin. To fight the high costs and get condoms back into the hands of the community, Condom Nation handed out 4.5 million condoms last year. And they've set their sights even higher this year. "This year our goal is to give away about 50 million free condoms by way of donations to agencies and also by way of street outreach," said Benjamin. But it's not just the cost that's keeping younger generations away from condoms - it's a lack of education. "They're not well informed of the possible risks of not using protection," said Simon Castaneda. "They don't really believe that there's STDs and HIV out there," Sonia Castaneda said. The United States is 30 years into the AIDS epidemic and while younger generations may have been shielded from original AIDs frenzy, Condom Nation is using education and outreach to get the youth protected. "If you see people with condoms on the street corners, maybe it will make it easier to have that conversation with your partner, let's use condoms, let's protect ourselves against STDs," said Benjamin. Condom Nation will be here at the corner of Diers and Capital Avenues handing out condoms and giving free HIV tests until 8:00.