The Baltimore Health Department is looking for someone to sell it 100,800 condoms and 20,000 packets of lube for a sexually transmitted infection prevention program officials say is increasingly important as infection rates go up.
Assistant Health Commissioner Dr. Adena Greenbaum said that for a department that sometimes distributes more than 1 million condoms a year it’s not an especially large order.
“We give out a lot of condoms so that is a relatively small amount of condoms for us,” Greenbaum said.
The condoms are given away at community events and two free city-run clinics. Others will be passed on to private organizations to distribute.
The Baltimore Health Department said the city has seen increases in such sexually transmitted infections as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in line with national increases over the past four years identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s not clear what’s driving the increase, said Greenbaum, adding that there are probably several factors at play.
“That is the million dollar question that everyone is asking,” she said.
In the latest order, the department is looking to buy 100 cases of five different kinds of Lifestyles brand condoms, with each case containing 1,008. The department also wants 20 cases of ID Glide brand lubricant.
The total cost should be around $10,000, according to online price listings.
The health department’s need was advertised on a city contracting website. The site typically lists more mundane items like truck parts and cleaning supplies, but sometimes more exotic items come along. Last year, the city sought more than a ton of bowling balls and more than 300 pairs of shoes for the alleys at Shake and Bake.
The condoms the health department wants are just one part of its efforts to battle HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The two clinics, in Druid Heights and Dunbar-Broadway, offer confidential testing and treatment and serve about 30,000 patients a year.
Last month, Howard County schools became the latest to offer condoms to students, joining Baltimore City and Montgomery County.