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National Condom Day 14 February 2016

It’s Getting Hot In Here! Use Condoms, Get Tested, Get Treated!

National Condom Day coinciding with Valentine’s Day, is promoted in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) through safer sex practices, while being romantic.
 “In the Territory, we are currently seeing a rise in the number of cases of syphilis. Although it’s easily transmitted and easy to treat with a course of antibiotics, syphilis can have serious health consequences if left untreated,” says Kim Gates, Executive Director of NTAHC. ‘If untreated, syphilis remains in your body and begins to damage the internal organs. In the long term this may be serious enough to cause death. Although a person may show no visible signs of infection they are still able to pass on syphilis.’
It has recently been reported that a number of infants have died or suffered severe birth defects in Northern Territory as a result of congenital syphilis.  Northern Australia (including Queensland, northern Western Australia and the Territory) have been affected by a syphilis epidemic since 2014. Despite this federally funded sex health education programs have been cut in the Northern Territory. 
It’s important to get the message out that in the Territory, about 60 percent of HIV transmissions in the NT are attributed to heterosexual sex. The best way to protect yourself is to use condoms every time. And on Valentine’s Day, a good way to say ‘I love you’ is with a condom!
The NT AIDS and Hepatitis Council distributes free condoms across Darwin and Alice Springs, in public amenities and at special events. Having sex is great fun, having safer sex is even better. Using condoms with water-based lube is the best way to protect against STI’s including HIV.
Get tested every 6 – 12 months during a general health screen as a rule. If you have more than one sex partner you need to have tests more frequently. You can get tested anonymously and confidentially at Clinic 34 in Darwin, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Nhulunbuy and Katherine. It’s free. You don’t need to make an appointment or have a Medicare Card.
Free Condoms and other safe sex products are available at NTAHC- 46 Woods Street Darwin and 17 Railway Terrace Alice Springs. 


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