Ina Fried

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Philadelphia Looks to Condom-Locating iPhone App to Help Slow Spread of AIDS

The city of Philadelphia hopes that an iPhone app that makes condoms easier to find will help the city slow the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“It seemed clear to us that when targeting youth for STD prevention, we had to use technology to support and advance our efforts,” Philadelphia Department of Health Program Manager Melinda Salmon said in a statement.

Philadelphia is teaming up with iCondom, a company whose signature app helps locate condoms in a number of cities, including New York, Paris and Washington, D.C.. “ICondom Philly will make finding these free condom distribution sites much easier for youth, and ensure that anyone that needs a condom, can get one,” Salmon said.

The first iCondom app launched back in June 2010, according to company founder Morgane Danielou.

“The idea came about because so many of my friends were having funny stories about not being to find condoms at night in Paris,” Danielou said in an e-mail interview. “I checked if an app did not exist and indeed there was not any so I thought that it would be useful for a lot of people.”

Initially, Danielou thought the program would be most useful in Europe, particularly in countries where it is hard to find places to get condoms at night, when many shops are closed. However, Danielou said the company then learned that many American cities have their own condom distribution programs and saw a new market for the app.

The app debuted in the U.S. last Dec. 1–World AIDS Day. An Android app is also planned, Danielou said.

Danielou also designed iCondom to tap into the power of crowdsourcing so that, regardless of their location, people can add and rate their own favorite spot for picking up some protection. Thus far, there have been submissions from places as varied as Brazil and Australia, as well as throughout Europe and North America.

“The launch of iCondom Philly clearly demonstrates that iCondom could become an integral part of all youth prevention programs for safe sex,” Danielou said.

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