SWOP-Chicago’s work focuses on individuals involved in the sex trade and their communities. Our condom distribution program is part of a larger effort to encourage risk-reduction among individuals involved in the sex trade through promotion and support for peer-education and networking, training for social service organizations that includes harm-reduction strategies for clients involved in the sex trade, an online “Ask a Question” application, distribution of print materials, and web-based information about free condoms & STI/HIV testing, health and human services, and comprehensive harm reduction advice.
We expect to distribute 50,000-70,000 condoms in 2014. Our condom distribution program targets venues/events/activities frequented by sex workers, sex worker communities, and the general population in high HIV prevalence neighborhoods.
More specifically, we distribute condoms (as well as other safer-sex materials) during weekly street-outreach (East Garfield Park) and at monthly organizing meetings in Wicker Park, as well as at training, community-building, fundraising, and other events (throughout Chicago). We also encourage peer-distribution and independent distribution, and give condoms to businesses and event organizers that are likely to have contact with individuals involved in the sex trade. Please find more detailed information about our distribution strategies below:
- Weekly Outreach – Distribute condoms, as well as free food, hot beverages, and resource information at corner of Sacramento & Madison (East Garflield Park). We have a bowl of condoms, and a bowl of safer-sex kits (resource-list; business-card-sized CDPH CCP flyer; 10 make condoms, 2 female condoms, resealable lube tube). We encourage people to take as many as they want, and also to take for friends. (1,000-2,000/month)
- Monthly Organizing Meetings, and other events – we have a bowl of condoms on a table near the entry of our organizing meetings and at trainings, planning meetings, fundraisers, and community events. When possible, we also have a bowl in bathrooms (if people feel uncomfortable accessing in front of others). (500-1,000/month)
- Peer Distribution – At meetings and events, we encourage people to take condoms and safer-sex-kits to distribute within their social networks or to individuals involved they encounter going about their day. We also offer bags or cases of condoms to all individuals who are supporting outreach activities. This allows people who don’t feel comfortable asking for large numbers of condoms for personal use, or to bring to an event attended by high-risk individuals to access what they need while expanding our capacity: Several individuals hand out outreach kits in Englewood, North Lawndale, West Garfield Park, and Rogers Park. Others bring condoms to social events that will be attended by individuals involved in the sex trade or other high-risk groups. (1000-4000/month)
- Other Venues – We give condoms to individuals who want to distribute them at nightlife events. We also give condoms to local businesses that want to distribute condoms for free and express interest in becoming a Chicago Community Condom Partner Project, as well as application information. (1000-2000/month)