The Transmission of STIs and HIV : Whose Responsibility?
Whose responsibility is it to stop the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV? Is it the responsibility of government, it’s my partners fault, or is it simply just one of those things that happen and your one of the unlucky ones? Should we even be asking this question?
Well YES, we need to ask the question as STIs and HIV transmission is on the increase. Something we could all stop today if each and every one of us took responsibility for our own sexual health.
Yes, it could be argued that you may find it difficult when you enter into a new relationship to start a discussion on the use of condoms, but think how hard it would be if you had to tell any new partner or a member of your family that you had an STI or HIV.
Let’s not just place the responsibility on men to make sure they wear a condom, women to can protect themselves by using femidoms, either because a partner cannot or will not use a condom.
The clear message is that by taking responsibility for your own health, is also respecting the health of others. We are not telling you not to have sex, but to be safe and responsible, use a condom as having unprotected sex can increase your chances of being infected with an STI, HIV or even result in pregnancy.
There are many types of condom, which one should I buy?
You are absolutely right there are different brands, types and sizes of condom on the market today. Which one should you use or buy is the one that feels the most comfortable for you, one that fits and protects you. Oh and yes condom do come in different sizes – large, medium and small (some manufacturers prefer to use the word ‘trim’, rather than small). Again, only you will know which size is the right size for you.
There is some information we can provide that you may want to consider:
- Flavoured condom are often used for oral sex
- Condoms that contain a spermicidal lubricant (nonoxynol-9). Be careful and cautious if you decide to use this type. Some research suggests nonoxynol-9 can cause irritation and inflammation of the lining of the rectum and therefore should not be used for anal sex. We suggest you read the information provided on the package to check and see if spermicide is mentioned.
- Check the condom packet to make sure they have not passed the expiry date
- Make sure condoms purchased display the British Kite Mark or European CE symbol, as this will ensure you are purchasing condoms that have been tested to a recognized safety standard.
Where Can I Buy Condoms?
Today there are many outlets such as chemists, vending machines, pubs/ clubs and local supermarkets.
I Can’t Afford to Buy Condoms – Where Can I Get Them For Free?
There are a number of venues and agencies that will be happy to provide you with a supply of free condoms, such as:
- Sexual health and GUM clinics
- HIV, sexual health and gay men’s agencies
- Sandyford clinics
- C-card outlets – for details visit www.ccard.org.uk
- Family planning centres/clinics
- Well women clinics
- Most gay bars, particularly in the bigger cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh
- Needle exchanges and drug agencies
- Some GPs – please check with your own GP practice