February is most known as the shortest month, which harbors both Valentine’s and Groundhog’s Day, but were you aware that it is also National Condom Month?
What started as National Condom Week in 1978 by students at the University of California-Berkeley, has grown into a national awareness in hopes of educating high schools, colleges, AIDS groups, pharmacies, condom manufacturers and other similar organizations.
The American Social Health Association (ASHA) not only recognizes February as National Condom Month, but has also deemed Valentine’s Day as National Condom Day.
What better way of celebrating a day filled with love than raising awareness about practicing safe sex?
Although condoms are not a cure for sexually transmitted diseases, other than abstinence, they are the most effective method for preventing the spread of HIV, which causes AIDS.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), every year, in the United States, there are 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STI). Of that number, about half are said to occur among the ages of 15-24. In addition, only 22 percent of unmarried men and 19 percent of unmarried women, ages 15-44, use a condom during intercourse.
Many STI’s have no apparent symptoms, causing them to go untreated and transmitted from one unknowing partner to another.
The CDC states that 30 percent of sexually active youth have a sexually transmitted infection and don’t know about it, thus putting their lives and the lives of their partners at risk. STI’s that are untreated can cause several medical complications, the most harmful being infertility.
At Mercy College, the number of students who admitted to using condoms during sexual intercourse is minimal. Only 54 percent of students admitted to regularly using condoms during vaginal intercourse whereas 26 percent use them during anal intercourse and a mere 2 percent during oral sex.
While condoms do not provide 100 percent protection against STI’s, if used correctly, they greatly reduce the possibility of contractive infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Research also shows that proper and regular use of condoms can lower the rate of women acquiring HPV (Human papillomavirus), which can lead to cervical cancer and genital warts.
According to the CDC, the U.S. spends up to $20 billion each year treated sexually transmitted infections.
If you are sexually active, be sure to get tested and use a condom every time. Remembering that all types of intercourse can spread STI’s, partners should use condoms during oral and anal intercourse.
It’s no secret that these problems are here to stay and the consequences can be devastating. Here are some tips to keep in mind with regards to condoms:
DO NOT STORE CONDOMS IN your car (they should not be subjected to extreme heat or cold) or your wallet (heat combined with pressure can break down the latex).
Check the expiration date when purchasing an individual pack of condoms
Check the condom for tears or holes before use.
Keep condoms away from direct light and in a shaded area, like a drawer.
With the awareness brought about by National Condom Month, even the porn industry has seemed to take notice and has made an important change in its profession.
Recently the Los Angeles City Council voted 9-1 to approve an ordinance that would require the city to deny all permits of actors who did not follow the condom agreement.
According to USA Today, around 90 percent of all porn watched is filmed in Los Angeles, thus hopefully promoting safe sex within the industry and protecting those within from STI’s.
Although film producers could film outside the city limits, the addition of the law forces those within the industry to consciously be aware of the dangers that surround unprotected sex.
Therefore, not only is National Condom Month protecting sexually promiscuous teenagers and college students, but also those within the porn industry as well.
In honor of this cause, remember: No glove, no love. Don’t be a Fool, Wrap your Tool.