ASHA Sponsors ‘National Condom Day’
The American Social Health Association has for the eleventh consecutive year declared today National Condom Day. Designed to coincide with Valentine's Day -- the day "nationally recognized as a time for love, to tell that special person in your life just how much they mean to you" -- ASHA is asking people to "love responsibly" by using condoms to "protec[t] one another's sexual health." Linda Alexander, ASHA president and CEO, said, "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." People with questions about condoms or sexually transmitted diseases can call the CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines at 1-800-342-2437 or 1-800-227-8922, 24 hours a day, seven days a week ( ASHA release, 12/20). Other National Condom Day-related events include:
- County health officials in Manitowoc County, Wis., will distribute free condoms today in an effort to make "more people aware of sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies" (Associated Press, 2/8).
- Detroit Health Department workers began distributing condoms this weekend at night clubs, bars and "establishments where sexual activities may at least initiate," the Detroit Free Press reports. Detroit officials decided to go "all out" for National Condom Week this year, giving out flavored condoms, colored condoms, female condoms and novelty condoms, such as condom earrings and lollipops, in light of recent reports of rising rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in the city. The Health Department's condom budget was increased from $500 to $6,000 to aid the effort (Wendland-Bowyer, Detroit Free Press, 2/9). The department also extended STD clinic hours, increased HIV and STD outreach services, and enhanced syphilis screening at the Wayne County Correctional Center and other clinics that "provide care to high-risk residents." Detroit ranked seventh out of 12 cities leading the nation in reported cases of syphilis and gonorrhea in a 1999 CDC study (Bates-Rudd, Detroit News, 2/13).
- The University of Mississippi Counseling Center is distributing free condoms, as well as pamphlets promoting safe sex, as part of "It's a Love Thing," a program running throughout the month of February, the Daily Mississippian/U-Wire reports. The center is also sponsoring two seminars on Thursday, the first a noon brown bag lunch discussion focusing on dating violence and STDs; the second, at 6:30 p.m., a presentation on "practical self-defense" (Howells, Daily Mississippian/U-Wire, 2/13).
- Health workers in Hong Kong will drive through the city today in an open-top "Love Bus" distributing "eye-catching and flavored condoms in the hope of lifting the taboo on discussions of safe sex." Graham Smith, CEO of AIDS Concern, said the workers "want to give people a good excuse to discuss a topic they might otherwise be inclined to avoid. When it comes to these diseases, love cannot afford to be blind" (Reuters, 2/14).
- Oxygen Media, the "online and onair network for women," has set up a Web site in honor of National Condom Week. The site features video clips from Pure Oxygen, including something "never before seen on TV -- live condom demonstrations," expert advice on male and female condoms, "Prophylactic Polls" and discussion boards on safe sex and birth control. To view the Web site go to http://thriveonline.oxygen.com/sex/contraceptive_choices/nationalcondom_week.html_ (Oxygen release, 2/13).
Condom makers are also gearing up for National Condom Day by releasing several new condoms:
- Global Protection Corp., is releasing the "first and only glow-in-the-dark condom" approved by the FDA for disease and pregnancy protection. The condom uses a "safe, non-toxic phosphorous pigment" contained in the middle layer of a three-layer latex condom. Global Protection Corp. is also sponsoring a Web contest where 10 winners will receive a free year's supply of condoms. Drawings will be held on April 1 and Aug. 1. You can register for the contest at http://www.nightlightcondom.com (Global Protection Corp. release, 2/8).
- Ansell Healthcare Inc., manufacturer of LifeStyles Condoms, is releasing three new products for Valentine's Day. LifeStyles Large Condom has an extra two and a half millimeters in diameter and an additional 200 millimeters in length, as well as a "more relaxed flared fit." The company is also introducing the Snugger Fit Condom, which is three millimeters smaller in diameter than the average condom and offers "a cozier experience and contour shape for more contact and sensation." LifeStyles also recently introduced LifeStyles Luscious Flavors Condoms, available in vanilla, strawberry and banana flavors (Ansell Healthcare release, 2/1).
- CONDOMania.com, the first condom e-tailer, is conducting a "fun and informative" Internet survey of condom usage at Rateyourself.com. In "keeping with CONDOMania's mission, the survey contains both serious and silly questions designed to get participants to think about condom usage in a fun way," a company release says. Preliminary analysis of over 1,000 responses shows that 57% of respondents think the "responsibility to supply condoms" lies with both partners, a response that "pleased" Adam Glickman, company CEO, who said, "It's great to see that so many people now see that the responsibility should be a shared one." Sixty-two percent of respondents also said they "always" use a condom and 55% advocated discussing condom usage "when you decide you want to sleep with your partner but before you are in bed together." (CONDOMania release, 2/13).