National Condom Week UK is sponsored by Durex.
Condoms; often a synonym for ‘passion killer’ or ‘awkward’. Most of our initial condom related experiences involved bananas in sex ed. We didn’t necessarily take them seriously, and by lunchtime half of them were floating around the courtyard as makeshift balloons.
Every year SHQ (Sexual Health Quarters) coordinates National Condom Day every February 14th in the United States. Their theme this year is ‘Got Cake’, which stands for;
C – Consent
A – Ask first – Both partners of legal age actively agree to take part in sexual activities without fear, coercion or intimidation.
K – Keep safe – Both partners have the right to use condoms and other contraception to protect themselves from sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies.
E – Every time – Both partners have the freedom to choose when and what sexual activities to take part in, and the freedom to change their mind at any time
This is a state wide campaign that involves education and information about the barrier contraceptive and the rather worrying prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in the Western world today. While diseases such as HIV have decreased, so called ‘common’ infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HPV virus are on the rise. In the UK Syphilis is at it’s highest rate since the second world war, and diagnoses have risen by 12% between 2015 and 2016. A Hepatitis A outbreak is also affecting Gay and Bisexual men.
A new drug resistant form of gonorrhea has developed, aptly titled ‘super gonorrhea’. Except, there’s nothing super about it. The only way to prevent the transmission of such infections is the use of condoms and regular STI checks. With NHS cuts happening nationwide, the population is at higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections as there is less funding for testing, advertising and treatment. (see more information here)
While people have condoms in their peripherals they often elicit eye rolls and a chorus of ‘WE KNOW!’. Yet as the old saying goes, statistics don’t lie and if these infections are widespread and on the increase that can only mean that less sexual caution is taking place.
Hookups and casual dating with several partners is now commonplace, with the launch of dating apps. Sex with strangers is far more accessible than ever before. Unless you fancy checking into the clinic pre-coitus with every Tinder date, it’s best to consider the ‘CAKE’ and use a condom. No one has a sign on their forehead saying ‘I have syphilis’ and your sexual health is of far more importance than a fumble in the sheets. Your hookup may not last for life, but one thing’s for sure- Super Gonorrhea does.