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City plays up safe sex with free condoms

Two Roman Catholic officials said, however, that the event encouraged the idea that "anything goes."An estimated 150,000 of the new condoms were handed out for the first time by volunteers near subway stations Feb. 1 4. The condom packages bear the brand name NYC Condom spelled out in letters in colors of New York City subway lines.New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said the presentation of condoms was "a fun thing but done really to save lives." Frieden, speaking at a Kenneth Cole store in Manhattan, said some people might question use of taxpayer dollars for the project, but "I assure you this will save the city substantial resources in preventing infections from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV as well as unwanted pregnancies." The city has a budget of more than $700,000 to spend on condoms this fiscal year and plans to distribute millions of the contraceptives during the year. The new, customized condoms were manufactured by Lifestyle, a division of Ansell Health Care, Inc. Free condoms are available at scores of locations throughout the five boroughs and can be found at the New York City Department of Health at www.nyc.gov/health. Edward Cardinal Egan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Roman Catholic Archdiocese issued a joint statement opposing distribution of condoms. "Our political leaders fail to protect the moral tone of our community when they encourage sexual activity by blanketing our neighborhoods with condoms," the prelates said. "Although in their statements they give nod to the truth that only abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage are fail-safe, by their actions they ignore that truth and degrade social standards." "The city uses taxpayers dollars to purchase and distribute condemns, thereby promoting the attitude that 'anything goes.'"Reach reporter Phil Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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