FREE AT LAST!! DC has unlocked their condoms!

After years of hard work on the street, on the phone, writing letters, and analyzing reports, CVS has finally "Free'd the Condoms!!!"  Every single last store in the District has varying degree's of freedom but all of the condoms are out of click boxes and on an open shelf. 

CVS also has finally started carrying female condoms.  While their prices are still high and at times they don't stock the Magnum condoms (choice of brand in the community) progress is being made!



CVS in foggy bottom by GWU's Student Center 2000 Penn

This CVS on The George Washington University's campus located at 2000 Pennsylvania Avnue, NW is notorious for NOT keeping their wing aisle stocked.

basically you can count on it never being stocked. It has not been stocked in 3 weeks.

Changes at CVS. . . but are there?

CVS made a deal with DC Council a couple months ago that in 60 days from July 1st that they were going to unclick their condoms!!! It seems that of the couple that I have been to they have released the condoms. HOWEVER as far as keeping the condoms stocked and shelved that is for another story.

Just check out the CVS in Columbia Heights:

When I spoke to not only the Store Assistant Manager she said "YA, so they like get stolen, so there is no reason to stalk them." The Metropolitan Polic Officer on duty nodded is head and agreed. DEPLORABLE.


The Condom Queen is on the Scene. . . on the Power Wings

Looks like the Watergate CVS got there first power wing- and guess what ladies and gents? It is FULLY LOADED and FULLY STOCKED! Now, I will need to check back in and chat with the manager to see about its progress. Yes indeed that kids at GW and surrounding neighbors do steal too. This I have had confirmed by store managers!

To my dismay the CVS on 20th and Penn which I frequent (I mean really you have to basically shop there- and I love the employees there!) had this power wing understocked for DAYS. . .

Here it is when I first spotted it on a Thursday:

And here it is when I spotted it on a Monday:

Some make excuses about the fact that it was not restocked and the "shipment" was coming. . . I said "I will gladly walk upstairs and haul some condoms from your supply upstairs and stock your power wing downstairs!" I got really angry and said I would be posting a blog and one of the many really nice managers promised he would get it fixed. . . and he did!


Old News but still News about CVS. . . CVS will pay $2.25 million to Government after violating HIPAA

CVS Pays $2.25 Million and Toughens Practices to Settle HIPAA Privacy Case
(this article taken directly from the HHS Press Room @

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced that CVS, the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain, will pay the U.S. government a $2.25 million settlement and take corrective action to ensure it does not violate the privacy of its millions of patients when disposing of patient information such as identifying information on pill bottle labels.

The settlement, which applies to all of CVS’s more than 6,000 retail pharmacies, follows an extensive investigation by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.

In a coordinated action, CVS Caremark Corp., the parent company of the pharmacy chain, also signed a consent order with the FTC to settle potential violations of the FTC Act.

OCR, which enforces the Privacy Rule, opened its investigation of CVS pharmacy compliance with the Privacy Rule after media reports alleged that patient information maintained by the pharmacy chain was being disposed of in industrial trash containers outside selected stores that were not secure and could be accessed by the public. At the same time, the FTC opened an investigation of CVS.

OCR and the FTC conducted their investigations jointly. This is the first instance in which OCR has coordinated investigation and resolution of a case with the FTC.

“OCR is committed to strong enforcement of the HIPAA Privacy Rule to protect patients’ rights to privacy of their health information. We hope that this agreement will spur other health organizations to examine and improve their privacy protections for patient information during the disposal process,” said Robinsue Frohboese, acting director of OCR. “Such safeguards will benefit consumers everywhere.”

The Privacy Rule requires health plans, health care clearinghouses and most health care providers (covered entities), including most pharmacies, to safeguard the privacy of patient information, including such information during its disposal.

Among other issues, the reviews by OCR and the FTC indicated that:

* CVS failed to implement adequate policies and procedures to appropriately safeguard patient information during the disposal process; and
* CVS failed to adequately train employees on how to dispose of such information properly.

Under the HHS resolution agreement, CVS agreed to pay a $2.25 million resolution amount and implement a robust corrective action plan that requires Privacy Rule compliant policies and procedures for safeguarding patient information during disposal, employee training and employee sanctions for noncompliance.

HHS and FTC also will require CVS to actively monitor its compliance with the resolution agreement and FTC consent order. The monitoring requirement specifies that CVS must engage a qualified independent third party to conduct assessments of CVS compliance and render reports to the federal agencies. The HHS corrective action plan will be in place for three years; the FTC requires monitoring for 20 years.

The HHS Resolution Agreement and Corrective Action Plan can be found on the OCR Web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/enforcement/examples/cvsresolutionagreement.html.

OCR has posted new FAQs that address the HIPAA Privacy Rule requirements for disposal of protected health information. They can be found on the OCR Web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/index.html.
Information about the FTC Consent Order agreement is available at http://www.ftc.gov.


Thank you to The Sexiest!

Please Check out how reporter Amanda Hess aka "The Sexiest" from the Washington City Paper also discovered how CVS continues to make condoms inaccessible to DC residents. . . .

Click here. . .

You might also find a few things that I said!

We truly appreciate The Sexiest and ALL DC Resident's for SAYING "NO" to CVS's practices!!!!


CVS continues to RIP off the Black Community!

CVS 36 Pack of Magnum Condoms. . .


(and I might add they are out in the open in the foggy bottom area, but are LOCKED UP on NAYLOR ROAD!)

Target in Columbia Heights THE VERY SAME 36 pack of Magnum Condoms. . .


and what do you know . . . NOT LOCKED UP!!!!


CVS JUMBO Condoms and JUMBO prices!!!!

Why is a 36 pack of Magnum Brand Trojan Condoms at Target in Salt Lake City, Utah $13.99 but in DC a 12-pack of Magnum Brand Trojan Condoms are $13.99. . . . I will tell you why. . . CVS tries to make a buck on POOR black people. . . that is the bottom line.

Thank you Target for making Condoms affordable to prevent the spread of STD's and HIV/AIDS!!!



If Utah is not locking up Condoms. . .

. . . then DC ought to get the picture!
I am home for the holidays and of course I have perused the local Smith's Food and Drug/Marketplace (A Kroger's Company) and NO, there condoms are not locked up!
If Utah one of the most conservative states in the nation where people would feel like they would need to steal is NOT locked up. . . CVS really should re-think their policies. .
FURTHERMORE, Magnum condoms are nearly $3 less!
Shame on CVS and their high prices marketed directly to black people.


Save Lives Free the Condoms at "Get Tested with Go-Go"

The "Get Tested with Go-Go" Event sponsored by Metro TeenAids, the DC Department of Health, Metropolitan Police Department, Toys for Tots, DC parks and Recreations had a huge turnout last night!

We were able to get the word out about our efforts to Save Lives and Free the Condoms! We passed out 2000 condoms and spoke with many young people.
The youth of today already knew that they were victim of restricted access to condoms. Frankly, that says a lot . . .

AGAIN, CVS we want equal access of condoms for everyone.


How does HIV/AIDS affect Washington DC? Tomorrow December 1st is Worlds AIDS day

Bloggers Unite
CVS, HIV/AIDS is preventable unlock and remove your condoms from click boxes so that all DC residents have equal access to condoms to fight the epidemic that plagues men, women and children.

An excerpt from "Fight HIV in DC" website:

Spotlight: HIV/AIDS and Children in the District of Columbia
Despite extensive efforts and improvements nationally in the prevention of HIV/AIDS in children, the District of Columbia continues to have disproportionately high numbers of HIV/AIDS cases among children less than 13 years of age.

Over the past five years, the District had 56 children under 13 years old diagnosed with either HIV or AIDS. In 2005, the District accounted for nine percent of all pediatric AIDS cases in the United States.

For more information about World Aids Day Events in the District Please Visit this Link:
How the District’s epidemic compares to the country and other major cities.
• The District had the highest AIDS case rate nationally (128.4 cases per 100,000 population in the District compared to 14.0 cases per 100,000 population in the United States).
• The District’s rate for newly reported AIDS cases is higher than rates in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Detroit, and Chicago.
Late testing, faster progression of the disease, and missed opportunities for prevention and treatment.
• Between 1997 and 2006, almost 70% of all AIDS cases progressed from HIV to AIDS in less than 12 months after the initial HIV diagnosis, primarily due to late testing. Nationally, only 39% of AIDS cases are late testers. This means that the individual was first diagnosed with HIV and shortly thereafter the disease had advanced to AIDS, decreasing the person’s life expectancy and increasing the cost of care and treatment – both which could have been avoided with earlier testing.
More children are being born with HIV or AIDS when medical treatment can completely prevent mother-to-child transmission.
• The District accounted for nine percent of all pediatric AIDS cases in the United States during
2005. Between 2001 and 2006, there were 56 children ages 13 or younger diagnosed with either
HIV or AIDS in the District of Columbia. Many states reported no new cases among children
during this same time period.
Heterosexual contact leads new transmissions.
• Roughly 37% of newly reported HIV cases in the District were transmitted through heterosexual contact; followed by 27% through men having sex with men (MSM); 14% through intravenous drug use; and 22% from an unknown mode of transmission. Nationally, MSM remains the leading mode of transmission for new HIV cases.
Women are a growing proportion of the District’s epidemic.
• The number of women living with AIDS has increased by more than 76% over the past six years. The District has a larger number of newly reported HIV cases among females (47 cases per 100,000 residents) than in other jurisdictions.
Black community is hardest hit by the epidemic.
• Although black residents account for only 57% of the District’s population, they account for 81% of new reports of HIV cases and approximately 86% of living AIDS cases. Black women constitute only 58% of the District’s female population, but they account for 90% of all new female HIV cases and 93% of living AIDS cases among women.


Food and Friends Discussion

Hi everyone,

This isn't an article on condom accessibility directly, but it relates to an organization that is very active in the HIV/AIDS community here in the District, and specifically some of the issues of Executive compensation that are occasionally brought to light.

This post is also in direct response to a discussion from our community activism class at GWU.




CVS Caremark accused of violating patient privacy

Change to Win, a group of several labor unions, on Friday will launch a campaign alleging that CVS Caremark violated patient privacy and improperly marketed an expensive diabetes drug, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to CTW, a letter sent by CVS to physicians urged them to add Merck's diabetes treatment Januvia to the treatment of certain diabetes patients identified through a review of prescription drug claims handled by CVS Caremark, CVS' pharmacy benefit manager unit.

According to the Journal, CTW believes the practice violates patient privacy rights and the letter is an example of how CVS might be taking advantage of employers that have hired the company to manage their workers' prescription drug benefits. A recent study found that Januvia is nearly eight times more expensive than other diabetes medications. In addition, some medical experts have said older or generic treatments that cost less may be just as beneficial to patients as Januvia. The Journal reports that PBMs in recent years have been accused of favoring treatments that result in rebates from the drugmakers and large profit margins.

A spokesperson for Merck said that the pharmaceutical company paid for the mailing "to help inform physicians about additional treatment options," adding that "no personal information about patient participants in the plan are provided to Merck." A line at the bottom of the letter indicated that Merck paid for the mailing, but Merck and CVS officials have declined to disclose how much the drugmaker paid or whether the mailing campaign helped increase sales of Januvia, the Journal reports.

CVS officials said the company does not attempt to improperly switch patients to more costly treatments. The company officials added that the letter was part of a program intended to inform physicians and that doctors ultimately make the final decision on drug prescriptions.

CTW Executive Director Chris Chafe said his organization -- which is comprised of unions, including Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union, which represent about six million workers, including several thousand CVS employees -- hopes that the campaign will help change state laws to force PBMs to disclose to customers all payments or rebates received from drugmakers; cap the amount of patient information PBMs are permitted to disclose; and require that any change in drugs results in lower costs for the PBM's customers (Armstrong, Wall Street Journal, 11/14).

CVS, Community Hypocrites

On November 17th the following memo was distributed to the George Washington University Medical School and School of Public Health:

TO: GWUMC Students, Faculty and Staff
FROM: John F. Williams, MD, MPH, EdD

SUBJECT: Food & Friends “Slice of Life”

DATE: November 13, 2008

Dear Medical Center Colleagues:

At this tim
e of year, I am especially grateful to members of the GW Medical Center community and for our collective work that contributes to the health and well-being of the world around us. I am also more mindful of the individuals that we serve. Those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other critical illnesses suffer not only from pain and symptoms of their diseases, but from financial concerns due to loss of work and medical bills and daily strain to accomplish simple tasks like shopping or preparing a healthy meal.

This Thanksgiving season, the GW Medical Center has partnered with Food & Friends, a non-profit organ
ization that prepares, packages and delivers meals and groceries to people in the greater Washington area who live with life-challenging illnesses. This year, Food & Friends will deliver full holiday meals to approximately 3,500 clients and their families in the region battling diseases like HIV/AIDS and cancer. That’s an astonishing number that speaks to the enormous needs of our neighbors.

I invite you to join me in participating in Food & Friends’ annual “Slice of Life” bake sale. We can help make a difference in the lives of thousands of men, women and children simply by purchasing our holiday pies from Food & Friends. You can buy pumpkin, apple crumb, pecan, or creamy chocolate cheesecake--for your own holiday gathering, or donate them to Food & Friends’ clients to be included with their Thanksgiving meal. The proceeds from each pie will go directly to Food & Friends, allowing them to continue their vital work in our communities.

If you would like to partici
pate, simply call (202) 269-6826 or click here to be directed to the GW Medical Center Team page on the Slice of Life website. You can also find more details on the Slice of Life posters hung around Ross Hall and the GW Hospital. The pies will be available for pick-up on Tuesday, November 25, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at one of 16 CVS pharmacy locations that you select throughout the District and in nearby Virginia and Maryland. As an added benefit for participating, if the GW Medical Center team sells more than 100 pies, our order will be delivered directly to campus.

Please join me in supporting Food & Friends in this worthy endeavor. To date, the GW Medical Center Team has raised $125 for this event—I’m sure we can add to that number. Thank you to those who have already made a purchase. It is my hope that the GW Medical Center community can make a significant contribution to this organization again this year through our support.

With thanks,

John F. Williams, MD, EdD, MPH Provost and Vice President for Health Affairs

PS: The pies are really delicious too!

CVS, WHY are you sponsoring a "slice of life" when you restrict access to condoms that prevent illnesses like HIV/AIDS that plaque the DC community that are you so "generously" serving?

REMOVE THE CONDOMS FROM THE CLICK BOXES and UNLOCK THE CONDOMS. The people of this community would prefer to NOT contract HIV/AIDS in the FIRST PLACE!


Most Single Adults Not Using Condoms

TUESDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Six out of every 10 middle-aged Britons do not use a condom during a first-time sexual encounter, a new study shows.

Those numbers might be similar for Americans, one expert said. "Data in the U.S. are likely comparable and, given prevailing policies with regard to contraception, may be worse," said Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

In fact, U.S. rates of all STDs, including HIV, have been increasing with an estimated 19 million new cases each year and more than 1 million people living with HIV. Almost half of the new cases of STDs are among people 15 to 24, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But older adults are at risk, too. "Often it's assumed that sexually transmitted infections are just increasing among young people, but U.K. surveillance data shows that sexually transmitted infection diagnosis rates are on the increase among all age groups in the U.K.," said Catherine Mercer, the study's lead researcher and a lecturer at the Centre for Sexual Health & HIV Research at University College London.

Most Britons engaging in unprotected sex are in their 30s and 40s and in relationships where there is an age difference of five or more years, according to the report, which was published in the Nov. 12 online edition of the International Journal of Epidemiology.

"Low rates of condom use among those starting partnerships in their 30s and 40s means that they too are at great risk of sexual infections," Mercer said.

For the study, Mercer's group collected data on more than 11,000 men and women who participated in the second British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. The survey included questions on recent partnerships, condom use and how soon after meeting they had sex.

Among all the people surveyed, almost 9,600 reported having heterosexual sexual partners in the past 12 months. More men (39.1 percent) than women (20 percent) said that these relationships were "not regular," the researchers reported.

More women (55.2 percent) than men (38.9 percent) said their partnerships were marriages, or involved living together with the partner. Men reported having sex sooner after a first date than women. One in five men said they had sex within 24 hours after meeting their partner compared with one in 10 women.

Over all age groups, condoms were used by 55.3 percent of the partners during their first sexual encounter. However, the rate of condom use declined with advancing age. For example, among 16- to 19-year-olds, 68 percent of males and 67.4 percent of females used a condom during a first sexual encounter, while among 35- to 44-year-olds only 38.1 percent of men and 28.8 percent of women used a condom.

In addition, in relationships where there was an age difference of five years or more, 60.8 percent were unlikely to use a condom during a first sexual encounter, compared with 44.1 percent of partners who were closer in age.

According to Mercer, rates of STDs are increasing in the U.K. In fact, the Health Protection Agency found a 6 percent increase in the number of new STDs in 2007 compared with 2006.

Additional research found that in one area of England, the rate of STDs more than doubled between 1996 and 2003.

"Everyone starting a new sexual relationship, regardless of age, should use condoms and continue to do so, until they and their partner have both been tested for sexually transmitted infections," Mercer said.

People ignore condoms at their peril, Katz added.

"Consistent use of condoms is the most reliable way of preventing HIV transmission next to abstinence, and is effective in preventing other transmissible diseases and unintended pregnancy as well," Katz said.

The lack of condom use by mature adults in the British study is noteworthy and disturbing, Katz said. "These are likely people who know about condoms and can get them. There is clearly a need to better educate men and women about the hazards of unprotected sex, and the advantages of condom use. Easy access to condoms should be a priority as well," he said.

More information

For more on STDs, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Save Lives Free the Condoms PSA