Ridgite finalist in condom competition

A Bay Ridge man is hoping his condom wrapper design will arouse the public to choose safe sex.

Twenty-four-year-old Gene Lambert is among the five finalists competing in the NYC Condom Package Design Contest, a five-borough initiative to give the free prophylactics a new look.

The city’s Department of Health, which announced the finalists last week, said Lambert feels his design is appealing enough to get the product in New Yorkers’ hands.

“Once it’s in your hand,” Lambert said in a statement, “might as well keep it and use it, right?”

Lambert’s design includes the subtle image of a subway train rumbling towards the entrance of a tunnel.

The other finalists submissions include top hats, a manhole cover, a design resembling a computer’s ‘on’ button, and a series of bubbles in “celebratory” colors.

The Health Department said it received nearly 600 entries since December 15, when it invited New Yorkers to design a wrapper to “capture the city’s distinctive culture while promoting safer sex.”

The judges’ top picks are now posted on the NYC Condom’s Facebook page and on the Health Department’s Web site (www.nyc.gov/condoms). The public is invited to selected its favorites between now and Feb. 28.

“We still face an epidemic of HIV/AIDS and high rates of other sexually transmitted diseases.When used correctly and consistently, condoms can prevent these infections as well as unintended pregnancies,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner. Involving New Yorkers in this issue is one way we are reminding those who are sexually active to use condoms whenever they have sex.”

The winning design from this contest won’t replace Yves Behar’s subway motif design, but it will appear on several million NYC Condom packages, beginning next fall, and may be featured in future condom promotions, the agency stated.

The Lifestyles brand condoms are availablefor free to any city-based organization, public or private. They can be ordered at nyc.gov/condoms, and found in bars, clubs, restaurants, gyms and coffee houses, as well as clinics and community centers.