National Condom Day

Dear Readers:

February is here, and you know what that means, don't you? Valentine's Day!

It is also National Condom Day-- February 14th

Oh yes, and even though some people will not be with that certain someone on Valentine's Day, most people will not want to be alone on that day. So what happens? People hook up seeking romance and passion and things may progress to unprotected sexual activity. Before engaging in sexual activity, make a decision to protect yourself against STD (sexually transmitted diseases)

Syphilis and gonorrhea do not sound romantic, HIV, herpes and warts may not have much to do with passion, but on a day when love is foremost in everyone's mind, people need to think about the consequences of having unprotected sex.

Today, as many as 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS and more than 20 million people have died. One in four adults will have an STD this year. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial infection among STDs, and often goes unnoticed because of the mild signs and symptoms.

Herpes, HIV, and genital warts are the "love bugs" of all viral STDs; because they will always love you back. Always. Because they are viruses, they never go away. Never, and just when you think you have them under control? They are back!

Take responsibility for sexual health by always using condoms and having regular sexual heath checks. The HIV and STD clinic at the Erie County Dept of Health is free and confidential. The clinic hours and information can be found on our website: www.ecdh.org, or in the ad on the back page of this issue of Erie Gay News.

The Erie County Department of Health is reminding people on National Condom Day to buy flowers, buy candy, and buy condoms!

Think you know about STD? Take this quick STD quiz to find out just how much you really know (or don't know) about STD.

STD Jeopardy—name the disease by the description given in each statement.

1. Intense itching, pinhead blood spots on underwear

2. Three stages, chancre, rash, systemic

3. DNA/RNA make a vaccine for this disease improbable

4. Painful urination, greenish yellow discharge

5. White patches in the mouth, cottage cheese like pockets of infection

(Answers: 1. Crabs, 2. syphilis, 3. HIV, 4. gonorrhea, 5. candidiasis)

To learn more about HIV education programs, please contact:

Patty Puline, Health Teacher

Erie County Dept of Health

451-6543

[email protected]

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