Get Healthy Carson City: Never a better time to urge safer sex | NevadaAppeal.com

Get Healthy Carson City: Never a better time to urge safer sex

Elaine Bergenheier
Carson City Health and Human Services

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Ah, love. With Valentine's Day around the corner, many are scrambling to find tokens of affection for their beloved. Cards, flowers, and candy are all popular Valentine's treats, but there might be other alternatives that you could give your significant other instead. Why not give the gift of safer sex by using condoms? Yes, that is right, using condoms is a great way to show you care, and CCHHS is here to help you do just that as we celebrate National Condom Day on Feb. 14.

National Condom Day is to promote the use of condoms and educate people in regards to the need for practicing safe sex at all times.

"Our aim is to get more people comfortable talking about and using condoms," said Epidemiologist Dustin Boothe. "We are also promoting healthy and safe relationships, while reminding people about the risks of sexually transmitted infections."

The rates of sexually transmitted infections remain a major problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young people ages 15-24 account for a large amount of new sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The consequences of STIs are particularly severe for young women because undiagnosed STIs can cause infertility. In fact, each year 24,000 women become infertile because of undiagnosed infections. Oftentimes STIs cause no noticeable symptoms so many infections go undiagnosed. The CDC estimates there are approximately 20 million people who have an STI and do not know it.

So, why condoms? Using condoms correctly and consistently provides the best protection against sexually transmitted infections.

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When used correctly, condoms are 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancies and STIs.

Condoms can be used with another form of birth control, such as the pill or IUD, for extra protection.

Condoms come in different sizes, colors, and even flavors.

Condoms have no side effects and do not require a prescription to purchase. Allergic to latex? Ask for or purchase a non-latex alternative.

Do not like the feel of male condoms? Ask about or purchase a female condom.

Most people are not aware, but you can get free condoms in a safe sex kit by visiting Carson City Health and Human Services at 900 E. Long St. You can also learn how to use condoms correctly by visiting with our nursing staff about sexual wellness.

Getting an STI test is another great way to show you care. Testing for sexually transmitted infections is recommended annually for anyone who is sexually active. Carson City Health and Human Services is here for you with education, resources, and guidance all at an affordable cost, so why wait? Get tested now, before the big night.

In the end, finding the perfect gift for your sweetheart may be easier than you think. After all, there is no gift more original and thoughtful than a healthy you. For information about services and programs available to you through Carson City Health and Human Services, visit our website at gethealthycarsoncity.org, follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cchhs, or call us at 775-887-2190.