PREVENTION IS BEST, CONDOMS ARE BEST – INTERNATIONAL CONDOM DAY.
International Condom Day (ICD) is observed on 13 February and it is no surprise that it falls the day before Valentine’s Day, the worldwide celebration of love. ICD is an opportunity to remind lovers that intimacy and romance originate from trust and care and safer-sex practices are integral in providing protection.
2019 is the 10th year that the AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION (AHF) has used ICD to promote the message of condom use during sexual intercourse, a safer-sex practice to prevent HIV infection, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
Earlier this week, during his State of the Union address, US President Donald Trump committed to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the US within the next 10 years and then in the rest of the world, in part by reducing the new infection rate by 75% over the next 5 years. If achieved, this initiative would go down in history as one of the greatest achievements in his presidency. The pathway to elimination would include boosting prevention to those most at risk, increasing access to antiretroviral treatment (ART), increasing use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis treatments (PrEP) and ramping up safer-sex promotion.
AHF has been fighting to rid the world of HIV and AIDS since 1987 and is the largest non-profit HIV health provider globally, with over 1 million lives in care in 43 countries, of those 500 000 are within the 13 African nations it serves.
Working with governments and other NGOs, AHF aims to reach the goal of ending HIV and AIDS around the world by improving access to HIV prevention for those most at risk. AHF is actively engaging the global community in HIV, testing millions of people annually and ensuring all those who test positive start ARTs to improve their health.
Hilary Thulare, AHF South Africa Country Programme Director states “We fight HIV and AIDS every day and prevention remains a major focus. We can win the war on AIDS if more people stay negative. AHF South Africa is so committed to the effectiveness of condoms in preventing new HIV infections that in 2018 alone we over distributed over 5 000 000 LOVE™ and ICON™ condoms at AHF clinics, supported sites, road shows, campaigns and events along with governments and international agencies. Using condoms can be both fun and sexy. Contrary to the popular belief that condom wearing reduces sexual pleasure, it has been shown that wearing a condom prolongs an erection – safe fun for longer.”
“Our message about condoms is simple: they are the cheapest way to protect against HIV and sexually-transmitted infections and they prevent unplanned pregnancies and have far fewer side effects than other forms of contraception or prevention. Use a condom every time you have sex and use it correctly because they make sex 10 000 times safer!” urges Larissa Klazinga, AHF Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager.
AHF’s President, Michael Weinstein states, “Promoting safer-sex practices is also incredibly important in a time when funding for global health has remained flat for the last several years. The lack of funds also includes money for condoms, so it’s critical that we get the message out about how important they are for staying healthy and disease-free, particularly in countries that experience higher prevalence rates for HIV.”