NATIONAL CONDOM WEEK 2004
If you get lucky on Friday the 13th, use a condom to protect yourself and your partner from bad luck (in this case Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs and HIV).
This is the message for National Condom Week from the Canterbury District Health Board’s Sexual Health Team. Friday 13th comes at the tail end of National Condom Week thus providing a unique focus for the campaign.
The team, with volunteers, will be out on the streets this Friday the 13th to give out condoms and chocolates. Helium filled balloons will identify the team on the street.
‘ Our aim is to remind people that condoms are the best protection against STI’s and HIV. That is next to staying in a committed exclusive relationship or not having sex,’ said health promoter for the CDHB’s sexual health team, Diane Shannon.
New Zealand’s high rates of sexually transmitted infections show no sign of coming down. During 2002 our chlamydia rates were five times that of Australia and our gonorrhoea rates were double Australian rates. 2003 figures are not expected to show any change in high infection rates for New Zealanders. Young adolescents and adults are most affected.
Dr Edward Caughlan, Clinical Director of the CDHB’s Sexual Health Centre said the centre was now seeing a sustained increase in chlamydia figures.
Results from the global Internet sex survey, carried out by Durex in 2002, showed that 39% of Kiwi women, and 35% of Kiwi males, had had unsafe sex in the past year. Among Kiwi youth, 42% of males and 44% of females aged 16 – 20 admitted to having had unsafe sex in the last 12 months.
Of particular concern is the fact that our rate of new HIV infections in the South Island doubled in 2002. New figures due out soon will show that the rates continue to rise.
The risk of exposure to HIV infection through one act of unprotected sex is higher in New Zealand now than it has ever been at any time in the history of the epidemic. This is because there are now more people living with HIV in New Zealand than ever before. ( Canterbury HIV/AIDS and Blood Borne Viruses Coordinating Committee)
To get lucky this Friday 13th, according to Diane Shannon, people could touch wood or carry a rabbits foot. However romantically speaking , condoms would be a better bet to keep people healthy and safe if they chose to have sex this black Friday or Valentines Day.