Today.Az » Weird / Interesting » French fight AIDS with 120-foot flying condom
29 January 2010 [18:05] - Today.Az
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a giant flying condom!
The French have unveiled their latest weapon in the battle against sexually transmitted diseases: a 120-foot condom filed with helium that went on display Tuesday at the Palais de la Decouverte in Paris.
The giant inflatable – dubbed "Condomfiere" – will set off on a five-continent tour to promote World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, part of a campaign started by the safe-sex group CondomFly. The dirigible condom carries three passengers plus a pilot.
Before starting its international sojourn, the floating behemoth will stop in Vienna for the 18th International AIDS Conference in June, where it will disperse heath information, as it will throughout its travels.
Safe sex is a big issue, and the French now have a condom to match. This curiously shaped, 120-foot balloon went on display Jan. 26 at the Palais de la Decouverte, as part of a campaign created by the French association CondomFly to promote condom use and the prevention of AIDS.
Even if Condomfiere could make it to the United States by Thanksgiving, it's unlikely Macy's will include it among the giant balloons it parades down Broadway.
And that's not just because of Condomfiere's sexual nature. It's also because of its size.
Since 1997, New York City officials have limited Macy's Thanksgiving Parade floats to 70 feet in length, 40 feet in width and 78 feet in length. It was a rule that forced Woody Woodpecker, among others, into retirement.
New York City, however, is doing its part to promote condom use. The Health Department, which hands out 40 million prophylactics a year – up from 1 million in 2002 – is holding a design-a-condom wrapper contest.
Nearly 600 contestants have jazzed up the city condom's rather stodgy labels, while reminding users about the importance of guarding oneself from sexually transmitted diseases.
The winner, who will be announced Feb. 12, will receive special-issue condoms featuring the labels of his or her design.
"We want to keep people excited about the brand," says Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, "because we know that condoms protect health."
To be sure, "excitement" is a word one uses advisedly around a condom, especially if it stretches 120 feet long.