Free condoms in New York City? Safe sex is only an app away, so tap that app today!

The New York City Health Department is serious about safe sex. So serious, in fact, that it gives away a staggering three million free condoms every month. Now they want to make sure everyone knows where to find these little packets of joy. They’ve come out with an app for the iPhone and Android phones that shows you exactly where the five closest distribution points are. And with more than a thousand locations all over the city, you won’t have to go far to ensure a lower risk of pregnancy and STDs.

The NYC Condom Finder not only tells you where the distributions points are, but also their hours of operation, and what other safe sex products are available there. To get it, users of Android or Apple mobile phones should search for “NYC Condom” in the Android Market or the iPhone App Store.

Despite the title of this post, safe sex is serious business. HIV is still a deadly problem, as are numerous other STDs. Consistent use of a condom seriously reduces the risk of catching these infections.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says, “Using a condom every time you have sex protects you and your partner from contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Condoms also prevent unintended pregnancy.

Well said, Dr. Farley. So if you’re going to play, please play carefully.

The sexiest city in the United States is …

Don’t waste your time looking at the coasts, if you have a map in front of you. And skip the big cities and clichés – you won’t find Las Vegas at the top. Austin, Texas is the sexiest city in the country according to a survey by Men’s Health Magazine. A number of factors contributed to the win, including birth rates, condom sales and the rate of STDs … not to mention sex toy sales.

Texas came out looking pretty good, with Dallas, Houston and San Antonio also getting props behind winner Austin. In all, seven of the 15 sexiest cities were in Texas. It must be the heat, because colder cities didn’t fare as well. It isn’t hard to be too sexy for Portland, Maine, which finished last, and Burlington, Vermont.

Some of the likely suspects failed to deliver. Vegas came in at #70, with New York following at #73. San Francisco was #74, with Miami #88.

[photo by Steve Zak Photography]

British backpackers spreading sexually transmitted diseases

“No sex please, we’re British.”

That old joke has been proven wrong by a new medical study that found British backpackers in Australia are picking up more than just short-term partners; they’re picking up infections that they spread around Australia and back home.

A survey of 1,008 backpackers at youth hostels in Sydney and Cairns revealed that 24 percent of British backpackers had unprotected sex with multiple partners, meaning 24 percent of British backpackers are total idiots. About half of those interviewed reported inconsistent condom use. The report found that even those who arrived with a partner were getting in on the act, with almost 20 percent them hopping into bed with someone else.

Australia receives an influx of almost 700,000 Britons a year, many of them backpackers, and while the study did not specifically check for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (called Sexually Transmitted Infections by those randy Brits) it doesn’t take a medical expert to put two and two together. In fact, the UK government last year reported that chlamydia, genital herpes, and genital warts are at an all-time high, with the 16-24 age group being the most affected.

Please, guys, wrap your John Thomas. And ladies, make the guys wrap their John Thomas. If you’re British, why not use a Big Ben condom like the one shown here? It’s a great way to inject some of your national culture into the local population.

Christopher Columbus: Travels the New World, spreads syphilis

Since the dawn of commercial flight, there has been a growing concern among health officials that modern travel is responsible for the rapid spread of dangerous, contagious diseases.

In the past, a random disease could infect an isolated tribe and kill them all off before the virus spread beyond their borders. Today, a backpacker could pick up a contagious disease in Papua New Guinea and be back home in Chicago coughing on people three days later.

Take SARS, for example. Acute Respiratory Syndrome first appeared in Asia in February 2003. Just a few months later the disease–which can only be transmitted by close, personal contact–had spread across the globe infecting people in more than 25 countries.

Such a rapid epidemic was only possible because of the massive proliferation of international flights crisscrossing the globe. One infected person in a single airplane landing at Heathrow could spread a disease like SARS around the globe within a day. This is scary stuff, folks!But hold on a minute. Diseases have piggybacked their way around the globe long before planes took to the sky–it just took a lot longer in those days.

In fact, a controversial report published last Monday seeks to finalize the debate that that it was none other than Christopher Columbus and his crew who were responsible for spreading syphilis around the globe. Researchers believe that members of the crew contacted the disease (probably a variation of tropical yaws) in South America and then returned home to spread it throughout Europe in 1495 and ultimately, the world.

Although the evidence is not yet conclusive, it does lend credence an old, popular saying: Columbus, did in fact, sail the ocean blue.

Har, har, har…

Holiday flings are endangering young Brits

Ah, holiday flings. My teenage journals account in painstaking detail so many clandestine meetings with various so-called ‘hotties’ on family trips. The ideal hook-up was one straight out of Dirty Dancing; unfortunately, I suspect my own teenage awkwardness was more reminiscent of Napoleon Dynamite. There was always a problem though — the family. Holiday romances were always foiled by having to spend time with the parents, not to mention inevitable embarrassment from a little brother. Still, it makes for good reading material dozens of years later.

My Holidays romances were always the pinnacle of innocence. There was a dance, maybe a small kiss (usually on the cheek) but nothing further. They sure weren’t anything like the holiday flings of today. Case in point: This article talks about how holiday flings are putting young Brits (16 – 24) at risk for a number of STDs, including HIV. Apparently young travellers have some sort of ‘no holds barred’ approach to holiday sex and it’s costing them their health. But guess what kids — it still counts as sex even if you do it in a foreign country.

My, how the times have changed. Or maybe I’m just a prude.