Today is Valentine’s Day, but it’s also National Condom Day. So while it might be funny to hear the saying “Don’t be silly; wrap your willy,” the consequences of ignoring that advice are no laughing matter.
Which makes statistics in a recent issue of Cosmopolitan even more puzzling. The magazine said that fewer young people are willing to use condoms. Really?
While the magazine was discussing a national survey, we shouldn’t have to remind Louisiana residents that the state is ranked No. 4 in the nation for HIV, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. And New Orleans and Baton Rouge are ranked No. 4 and No. 5 in the nation with reported cases of HIV.
If you are being active, being on a birth control alone will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. It is also important to remember to get tested before and after you become involved with a new partner.
The question is why are people not using condoms anymore? When Cosmopolitan surveyed readers and subscribers, the top answers were:
- “I am not worried about STIs.”
- “My partner didn’t insist we use one.”
- “I hate throwing them away”
- “I am on birth control”
- “I am on my period.”
Cosmo’s results are in line with a survey was conducted with Power to Decide, a campaign created to educate young people on sex, unplanned pregnancy and STDs. The results, from people ages 18-34, indicated 61 percent of participants will use a condom if they are aware their partner has a sexually transmitted infection while 60 percent admitted they rarely or never use condoms. Within that same group, 50 percent percent have NEVER put a condom on.
The responses are mind-blowing if you know that more than 20 million people in the United States have STDs, which are almost completely preventable with condoms. When used correctly and consistently, condoms are able prevent 98 percent of sexually transmitted pathogens.
Even so, the CDC has reported the fourth consecutive year that the United States has broken its own record in this regard. In 2017, 2.3 million people were diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, an increase of 200,000.
Popular culture could be an influencer in the decision to avoid condoms. Many songs and music videos that deal with sexual content talk about “raw” intercourse and how condoms get in the way of what “needs to be handled.” If celebrities make comments like this, it has an effect on fans. The only latex many GenX and Millennials are concerned about are the outfits that have them on Fashion Nova.
Cities such as Milwaukee who have high teen and young adult pregnancies have started a campaign for the public to buy a bouquet of condoms instead of flowers for Valentine’s Day. research indicates that if more condoms were used on holidays such as Valentine’s Day and anniversaries the U.S. population would decrease by 5 percent in the foreseeable future
Valentine’s Day is a time to say, “I love you.” We say the best way to express that physical love is to use condoms so the romance has a healthy future.
We call on our readership to educate themselves and promote responsible sex in our communities. The African American is the second-highest race to report STDs, STIs and HIV.
Some people report they are allergic to latex, but condom producers offer other options. Some complain condoms are expensive, but think of the expense of the consequences. Condoms may not be romantic or exciting, but they save lives and heartache. Why put your life at risk when sliding something on is so simple?
(Managing editor Taj Odem wrote this editorial on behalf of the Courtbouillon staff.)