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With February comes Valentine’s Day — and a chance to promote condoms on Feb. 14, which is also National Condom Day.
The American Social Health Association (ASHA) in Research Triangle Park, NC, is reminding people to "love responsibly" by protecting one another’s sexual health during its 11th observance of the event.
"Valentine’s Day is nationally recognized as a time for love, to tell that special person in your life just how much they mean to you," says Linda Alexander, ASHA president and CEO. "We encourage people to talk openly and honestly with their sexual partners about the sensitive subject of condoms as a way to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases [STDs]." (For a patient handout on condoms, click here.)
February also marks the fourth annual National Symposium on Overcoming Barriers to Condom Use, coordinated by the San Rafael, CA-based Pharmacists Planning Service Inc. (PPSI), the originator and sponsor of National Condom Week. The conference, scheduled in San Francisco for Feb. 16-17, will focus on information on condom efficacy and technical developments; institutional, social, and individual factors that affect condom use; and updates on successful domestic and international programs for condom education, promotion, and availability. For information you and your patients can use, take a look at the Web sites below:
1. American Social Health Association (ASHA): www.ashastd.org. ASHA, a nongovernmental resource that has advocated on behalf of patients to help improve public health outcomes since 1914, has recently redesigned its Web site for easier use, says Michael Stalker, director of media relations.
ASHA publishes medically reliable, easy-to-read, and understandable information for consumers and patients. Providers also use ASHA books, pamphlets, and newsletters to keep themselves informed about the latest developments and to better address patient needs and concerns. One of ASHA’s brochures includes Loving Safely: What You Need to Know About STDs, which explains the importance of protection against STD infection and includes illustrations that show how to use male and female condoms. The brochure is written at a sixth-grade reading level for ease of comprehension.
2. PPSI: www.ppsinc.org. PPSI is a nonprofit organization that has been promoting consumer public health education and pharmaceutical information for 37 years. The site offers a number of materials for sale, including eye-catching condom posters. Information on the Condom Symposium also is available.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention’s condom information section: www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/facts/condoms.htm. Download the Adobe Portable Document File of the freely reproducible fact sheet, Condoms and Their Use in Preventing HIV Infection and Other STDs, at this Web site. This section of the government Web site offers information on basic science, surveillance, prevention, research, treatment, and funding, as well as prevention tools such as brochures, fact sheets, slide sets, and links to other sites.
4. HIV InSite’s condom information section: hivinsite.ucsf.edu/topics/condoms. HIVInSite is a project of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, both pro-grams of the UCSF AIDS Research Institute.
The "Condoms" section of the site offers fact sheets, such as the freely reproducible "Do Condoms Work?" and provides tips such as "Some Solutions to the Most Common Condom Problems." The condom section also includes information on promoting condom use, why people don’t use condoms, and where to buy safer sex supplies, as well lists material on the female condom, condoms in schools, and condoms in prisons.
5. Condomania: www.condomania.com. Here is a one-stop patient resource for all things condom. Condomania, America’s first condom store, was established June 1991 in New York City. It now operates at the retail level and offers a mail-order division and its Web site. A variety of condoms and lubricants are available for sale, as well as other related material. The Web site also offers links to sites that are "dedicated to promoting safer sex, AIDS awareness, education, and a positive sexuality."