Life Guard DC

Life Guard DC

Life Guard DC is a Washington, DC condom distribution program that is driven by the involvement of peer-to-peer social networks, local businesses, and community-based organization outreach services. The program distributes free condoms at local establishments in historically overlooked communities, 24 hours a day. []


Washington DC has the worst HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. 1 in 20 residents of Washington DC is living with HIV and 1 in 50 residents is living AIDS.1 The epidemic is driven by sexual activity (both heterosexual and homosexual) and then by injection drug use. Latex condoms, when used correctly, are highly effective in reducing the risk of HIV transmission.2 Many stores and pharmacies, like CVS in Washington DC keep condoms in locked cabinets which can deter people from purchasing them. Also, there are few business that sell or organizations that distribute condoms in the areas of DC with the highest rate of HIV.3

DC Government Response to the Epidemic

The DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a non-profit public policy organization, has harshly graded the District's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.4 The DC Appleseed Center's report called condom distribution as an "immediate priority." The city had planned to distribute 600,000 condoms in 2005 but only delivered 100,000 condoms.5

Life Guard's initiative

Life Guard was formed by a coalition of local non-profit organizations to provide condoms, specifically in areas of DC with high HIV infection rates. Life Guard creates condom packages with lube, safe sex information and information on HIV/AIDS resources in DC. These condom packages are placed at 24-hour businesses such as fast food places and laundromats. The program has already distributed more than 100,000 condoms. The program has received a lot of press for its innovative and simple way of tackling DC's HIV crisis. [] Also, the organization uses simple ways to explain the organization and it's goals, such as using Youtube. []


1. "HIV/AIDS in the Nation's Capital: Improving the District of Columbia's Response to a Public Health Crisis". The DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. August 2005

2. "How Effective Are Latex Condoms in Preventing HIV?" The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

3. Levine, Susan. "The Condoms? Please, Take One." The Washington Post. December 1, 2006; Page B01.

4. "HIV/AIDS in the Nation's Capital: Improving the District of Columbia's Response to a Public Health Crisis". The DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. August 2005

5. Levine, Susan. "250,000 Condoms Deployed for HIV Awareness, Prevention." The Washington Post. February 16, 2007; Page B03

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