February is for lovers. It’s the most romantic time of the year for countless couples. However, among the chocolate hearts and over-priced bouquets of roses lies an even more important holiday that all romantic duos should celebrate: National Condom Month.
In the 1970s, the University of California – Berkeley held the first Condom Week on their campus during the same week as Valentine’s day. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness about STDs and to allow students to have access to free condoms to practice safe sex. The American Social Health Association adopted this idea and turned what used to be just one week of celebrating the benefits of condoms into the whole month of February to raise awareness nationally. Now, National Condom Month is becoming an opportunity for educational events held by high schools, colleges, family planning organizations, AIDS groups, STD awareness groups, pharmacies and condom manufacturers.
This month, many organizations help raise awareness of the benefits of condoms and the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. Raquel Simental, the Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, says that it’s time to get real about the risks.
“Barrier methods coupled with contraception are very effective to prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancies,” Simental says. “We discuss the benefits of condom use with every patient that is here to talk about their choices for contraception. I believe that the ultimate sign of respect between two people who engage in intimate activities is the use of a condom to protect one another.”
Condoms are not just used for contraception, but are also highly effective in preventing STDs. According to a study conducted by the California Department of Public Health, Sacramento County is rated third highest in the state for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea cases and fourth highest for Syphilis. Be smart about protection. No matter what, to prevent the transmission of STDs such as those so abundant here in Sacramento, properly use a condom every time.
Planned Parenthood is working with the ARC Health Center to provide many contraceptive services for all students, which includes access to free condoms, as well as STD and pregnancy testing. The Health Center is located inside the administration building and open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., always ready for any questions you have about the benefits of safe sex. Remember, “Don’t be silly, wrap your willy.”