It’s that time of year again! Everywhere we go we are reminded of the season of love that comes in February. What we often forget, is that Valentine’s Day is not only a celebration of the love you have in your life but is also the start of National Condom Week. This year, Carson City Health and Human Services wants to you to remember to spread affection and not infection, which is something we can achieve when using condoms consistently and correctly this Valentine’s Day.
Sexually transmitted infections have been on the rise for close to a decade with the age group of 15-24 being the population most at risk. Many people with an STI might never show any symptoms. It is estimated that only around 10 percent of men and 5-30 percent of women show symptoms of chlamydia, which is the most common reportable STI.
If left untreated, chlamydia and other STIs can increase the risk of infertility, HIV infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other adverse health outcomes. Fortunately, many common STIs can be treated if diagnosed in a timely manner. As a good rule of thumb, it’s recommended to get tested yearly if you are sexually active or starting a new sexual relationship.
Did you know that condoms are not only up to 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy but also STI and HIV? According to the CDC, condoms are a physical barrier in limiting the transmission of STIs and HIV. However to get the most out of your condoms, they need to be used correctly and consistently every time.
More quick facts:
• Condoms are easily obtainable and are available at most grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and at CCHHS, your local health department
• You do not need a prescription for purchase
• They come in various sizes, colors, and flavors and are easy to use
• They are available in latex-free for those with sensitivities/allergies
• Latex condoms are compatible with most water-based lubricants (but stay away from oil-based as this can compromise the integrity of the condom)
We typically think that the best way to show affection is through tangible items such as cards, chocolates, or flowers, but caring about both your and your partner’s health is just as romantic! CCHHS is here to help this Valentine’s Day by providing free condoms, education, and testing resources to the community.
Plan a trip to the CCHHS clinic to pick up a safe sex kit for you and your sweetie this year, and while you’re at it consider making an appointment for STI testing, which can be made as early as the same day you call. Private testing and treatment for STIs are offered and results are usually available within a few days.
For information, visit www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or call 775-887-2195 to find appointment availability. CCHHS wishes you a safe, healthy, and happy Valentine’s Day!