National Condom Week helps educate people about the serious risks that still exist when people have unprotected sex and the importance of using condoms.
The Center has distributed tens of thousands of free condoms supplied by LA Condom, which encourages Los Angeles County residents to practice safer sex by using condoms.
“There are new condom styles out there due to advancements with latex, so it’s not like wearing a spare tire anymore,” says Chris Clarkin, a Los Angeles LGBT Center Health Education Specialist. “They are readily available, come in all shapes and colors and are found free in a variety of locations.”
Clarkin shares some reasons why condoms are still important:
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) including Gonorrhea and Syphilis are on the rise in all of Los Angeles County and disproportionately high in the LGBT community. Even PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis), a daily pill shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 99%, does not protect against other STIs.
- People don’t talk. If you make the choice that you aren’t going to ask someone if they know their HIV status or have an STI, then condom use is a positive alternative.
- Harm reduction. HIV is still a challenge for the LGBT community and condoms are a prevention tool. HIV is still extremely stigmatized. A person living with HIV is not just dealing with their own medical issues, but also a lack of knowledge of their fellow community members.
The Center offers a wide range of leading-edge services to help prevent against HIV infection and to support those living with HIV. For more information go to lalgbtcenter.org.