With ads bearing the tagline, “Show us your package,” the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday launched an initiative to increase condom usage.

The initiative includes the L.A.’s Next Sex Symbol contest, which calls for L.A. County residents to submit photos or artwork by June 17 to be featured on an official Los Angeles-branded condom. The top 10 wrapper designs will appear on one million and one condoms, which will be distributed for free throughout the county by the end of 2012.

The program is part of the department’s emphasis on HIV and STD prevention, treatment and care.

Last year, the department reported more than 47,500 new cases of chlamydia, more than 9,500 new cases of gonorrhea and nearly 1,800 new cases of syphilis. An estimated 2,000 new HIV infections occur annually in the county, according to a statement from the department.

The public will vote on the grand prize winner, runners-up and finalists from the top 50 designs. Winners will be announced on June 27 and receive donated prizes.

For a complete list of rules, guidelines and to submit a design, visit www.lasexsymbol.com. Entries considered obscene or vulgar will be disqualified.

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